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Rolling Thunder in D.C. for Memorial Day Rally

Don’t be surprised to see a few more motorcycles than usual today and throughout this weekend on the D.C. Beltway and other major arteries, as Veterans travel to DC for the Memorial Day motorcycle rally known as ROLLING THUNDER.

Rolling Thunder (with permission by Judy Jennings)

This annual demonstration was the brainchild of Vietnam Vet Ray Manzo, Corporal USMC, who rallied the support of retired Army Sergeant Major John Holland, head of the American Foundation for Accountability of POW/MIAs, Ted Sampley with Homecoming II Project at the Last Firebase vigil, retired Marine 1st Sergeant Walt Sides, president of the non-profit Warriors Inc, and Bob Schmitt who had a POW family member.  2500 people participated in that first rally at the U.S. Capitol in 1988, demanding government accountability for American soldiers who were Prisoners of War (POW) or Missing in Action (MIA).  The event has grown each year since then, and recent Rolling Thunder events have brought together over 250,000 people in our Nation’s Capitol.


Would you like to participate or watch Rolling Thunder?

There’s no registration or membership required – if you can drive a motorcycle, you can participate in the Rolling Thunder demonstration on Sunday to express your support for American POWs and MIAs.  

If you just want to watch, the best viewing spots are probably along the Arlington Memorial Bridge and Constitution Avenue.  Nearby Metro stations include Smithsonian, Metro Center, Judiciary Square, Federal Triangle and L’Enfant Plaza.  Portable toilet facilities and limited food and drink are available in the rally area in the North Pentagon parking lot. 

Regardless of whether you’re riding or watching, be sure to bring water and food, dress comfortably, and expect to do a lot of waiting around.  I understand it literally takes hours for participants to file out of the North Pentagon parking lot.

SCHRolling Thunder - Bikes parked on the mall (with permission by Judy Jennings)EDULE OF EVENTS:

On the other side of Constitution Avenue on 22nd Street, after the rally, you will find “Thunder Alley” – the official vendor area for Rolling Thunder, which will be open from Saturday through Monday.  Assorted vendors will offer merchandise that includes the official Rolling Thunder T-Shirts, unique leather goods, riding glasses, pins and patches, etc.  Again, there will be limited food/beverage vendors and portable toilet facilities.

If you can’t come this weekend, but want to show your support, you can click on the link to LIKE the Rolling Thunders on Facebook.

PHOTOS:  Many thanks to Activerainer Judy Jennings for sending me these photos she took during Rolling Thunder 2009


*Posted originally at by Margaret Woda

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