My first ride in Rolling Thunder – It what was an honor and an unforgettable experience. Thousands of people lined the streets and overpasses all waving flags, holding signs thanking the veterans, and giving thumbs up. It was evident there are many people that appreciate veterans and those that gave their all. We saw people, spectators and riders, smiling and crying. It was a very emotional experience I will never forget.
This year was the 30th anniversary of Rolling Thunder. Our alarm clock went off at 4:00am and by 5:00am we had the Harley’s prepped and riding to the first formation at American Legion Post 177. The American Legion Riders made a great showing with several hundred Riders. At 6:30am we departed the Post and as an organized group escorted by many law enforcement officers. We rode to Patriot Harley Davidson where we joined the Patriot Guard Riders. We went from a group of several hundred to several thousand. The Fairfax and Arlington Motorcycle Police Squads joined us at the front of the formation. We next rode in the Community Patriot Parade. They closed down streets and entire freeways for the Riders. It was like a movie scene where we had the highways to ourselves. At the end of the ride we arrived at the Pentagon and went into the military mode of “hurry up and wait”. It took what seemed forever to be positioned in our assigned area of the massive parking lots. Unless you have been here, I believe it is difficult for someone to comprehend the number of motorcycles. Try and imagine a several hundred thousand motorcycles forming up for an organized ride. It would be like taking all the motorcycles that show up for the Sturgis Rally and lining them up.
The Patriot Guard and Legion Riders were part of the lead groups. When we finished we wandered the Washington monuments. Hours after we completed our ride the two columns continued to thunder through DC.
Per the Rolling Thunder web page, the Rolling Thunder Run mission is to educate, facilitate, and never forget by means of a demonstration for service members that were abandoned after the Vietnam War. Rolling Thunder has also evolved into a display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.