Guest Author - Nancy Brotherton
May is a great month for Motorcycles, not only because it is prime riding season, but also because so many events and rallies take place. One rally that takes place every May on Memorial Day that focuses national attention on the many sacrifices our United States soldiers have made is the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally. Rolling Thunder is a motorcycle event that is focused on raising awareness for the Vietnam Prisoner's of War and Missing in Action soldiers. The event is staged in Washington, D.C. at the heart of national attention.
Thousands of bikers come out every year from all over the country and the world to give public thanks and support to the sacrifices of veterans and soldiers missing in action. Since the events inception in 1987, the last count of participants was an estimated half-million with each subsequent year drawing more and more supporters.
The staging area for the bikes are the Pentagon parking lot where when it is time to roll, the riders make their way to Constitution Avenue. When the demonstration down Constitution Avenue begins around noon, all you can hear is the sound of "Rolling Thunder". You can feel the sound vibrating through your bones. The onlookers wave and cheer as the bikes pass by to honor and support our veterans and forgotten soldiers. Many clubs and groups from around the country participate and carry the American Flag and the POW/MIA flag.
The ride ends at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial where at the Reflecting Pool there is a Rolling Thunder Speaker Program and Musical Tribute to all the Veterans. Everyone at the rally shares a common bond and closeness because they are there to make a difference. They are there to stand up for the soldiers that remain unaccounted for and to remind us that we can never forget all the sacrifices our soldiers have made for this country. As the event concludes you can hear participants say, "Till the last one comes home". It is a reverent day that you will never forget. Whether you ride or stand on the sidelines, you make a difference just by being there and get a feeling that only each individual can describe.
In addition, there is a side street dedicated to motorcycle vendors called "Thunder Alley". They offer food, refreshments, and merchandise. Each year there is official Rolling Thunder merchandise you can purchase to wear or display proudly.
To find out more about Rolling Thunder and what it means to participate, click on the Rolling Thunder link below to watch a video that shows you what the event and it's worthy cause is all about. Keep your tissue box handy. This event is definitely worth attending and one you will never forget!
Ride safe and live free!