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Rolling Thunder XXXII May 26, 2019: Gone But Not Forgotten

They were our brothers, sisters, our buddies and our heroes.

We don't want their memories to fade.

(WASHINGTON DC) - Few things are more "American" than the roar of hundreds of thousands of bikers from all over the nation riding through Washington D.C. to the sound of cheering, flag waving supporters of our POW/MIA's and veterans. Each year bikers from all over the world and all walks of life join together to honor the more than 58,000 who gave their lives in the Vietnam War and the countless number left behind.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is a place of healing for those affected by one of the most divisive wars in our nation's history. Photo

Credits: Rolling Thunder®, Inc. Photographer Patrick J. Hughes, U.S.M.C. ChuLai 67-68

Behind the Shades and Beneath the Leather

Nearly one million riders and spectators participate in the Rolling Thunder Memorial Day weekend demonstration held each year in Washington D.C. Rolling Thunder has evolved to be not only a demonstration for the POW/MIA issue but also a demonstration of patriotism and respect for soldiers and veterans from all wars. More than any other event, "Ride for Freedom" gives everyone the opportunity to proudly show their gratitude for all of our freedoms and their love and respect for the veterans who have fought for us.

Those who ride in the Rolling Thunder®, Inc. demonstration each year are from all walks of life and from all parts of the world. They join in solidarity to honor the brave men and women who have put their lives on the line to defend our great country. It is a time to reflect upon our freedom which so many have died to protect.

This year's demonstration in Washington D.C, Sunday, May 26, 2019, marks Rolling Thunder®, Inc.’s 32nd Anniversary. The purpose of this demonstration is to bring awareness to the government so full accountability can be achieved for all Prisoners of War (POW) and those Missing in Action (MIA) from all wars. Rolling Thunder began in 1987 as a demonstration to bring awareness to the plight of prisoners of war (POW) and to those missing in action (MIA).

Rolling Thunder®, Inc.'s major function is to publicize the POW-MIA issue; to educate the public that many American prisoners of War were left behind after all past wars; and to help correct the past and to protect the future veterans from being left behind should they become prisoners of war-missing in action. Rolling Thunder, Inc. is also committed to helping disabled veterans from all wars. Their members are veterans, non-veterans and/or motorcyclists, but anyone can participate in the demonstration or become a member of this incredible organization as long as you believe in the issue.

Everyone is welcome. The best viewing spots are along the Arlington Memorial Bridge and Constitution Avenue. You can also pay tribute to America's war heroes by visiting the monuments and memorials on the National Mall.

"Until They Are Home"

In 1999 US Marines recovered the remains of fallen comrades from August 1942. True story of the recovery of 19 US Marines Killed in Action on Makin Island in WWII and their return home to Arlington National Cemetery 58 years later. Story: Pat Mendoza. Music arranged by Pat Mendoza. Trumpet: Steve Wiest. Singers: The Islanders and Pat Mendoza

More than 82,000 American service members are still missing, with 75% of them in the Indo-Pacific and 41,000 presumed lost at sea, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Still Unaccounted for:

WWII: 73,057

Korea: 7,747

Vietnam: 1,611

Cold War: 126

Gulf Wars: 5

El Dorado Canyon: 1

Source: (5/23/17)

"Unaccounted for is Unacceptable." - Arthur T. Foss

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency brings together the former Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC), and the Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory (LSEL). The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency continues its search for the fullest possible accounting of Americans still unaccounted for from past conflicts. The agency also honors our veterans’ sacrifices and confirm an obligation made to those serving our country.

WHY WE RIDE They were our brothers, sisters, our buddies and our heroes.

We don't want their memories to fade.

Rolling Thunder®, Inc. Photographer Patrick J. Hughes, U.S.M.C., ChuLai 67-68

HEAR THE THUNDER by Bill "uglicoyote" Davis USN 1967-1971 2007

As we prepared to mount our bikes, He asked, "Tell me why you ride. There's nothing that you few can do For these soldiers who have died." "You're wrong" I answered back to him, "Yes, they all have paid the toll, But we can help people remember When they hear the Thunder Roll." "These men and women served their country, their deaths were not by choice. They fulfilled their solemn duty And now we are their voice." "Some returned in shrouded coffins. They served and gave their all. Some went to serve in foreign lands, And never returned at all." "So we ride to offer honor to All those who paid this toll. We ride so you'll remember them, When you hear the thunder roll."

Staff Sergeant Tim Chambers, USMC (Ret), The Lone Marine, held a salute for the entire four hour Rolling Thunder Demonstration and has been saluting veterans each year since 2002. SSgt Chambers says he wanted to make a difference and reach out to the veterans, so he jumped to the middle of the street and saluted each one as they passed by on their bikes. When SSgt Chambers was asked "Why the salute?" He answered, "It's about the pain. A lot of these heroic guys still hurt and if I can relieve their pain for just one brief moment, then I've done my job." SSgt Chambers believes that a true patriot reaches out to help fellow Americans in need, helps those less fortunate, and demonstrates compassion. "When you help others, you are not only an American, but you are a patriot of America, and just as patriotic as the service member that served in this generation or generations past."

A Solitary Marine holds vigil at full attention during the Rolling Thunder Demonstration in tribute to fallen

Honoring those who fought and died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn​ The Virtual Wall - Vietnam Veteran's Memorial

Always remember our troops serving, those who have borne the battle and those who gave their lives for us so we can live free!


by Thomas Farrell

You left your home, so young and brave A proud Marine, not a bit afraid. To a war you went so far away. Your country called, you had to obey. Now in a land where death does abide, You fight and strive to stay alive. Though in the Jungle so thick it hides the sky, To mud of the paddies where you dry.

No longer the boy so full of dreams. The naive kid with a thousand schemes. For you have aged beyond your years. And know the pain of a thousand tears. In thirteen months of death and hell. You live a story you dare not tell. A story of how you aged a hundred years.

On your way home you have time to reflect On the friends that have died and the ones that you left.

A tear comes to your eye, which you can't control, You seem withdrawn from friends you've known, A man alone in a place called home. Your youth you left so far behind, In a place that will leave forever in your mind. For the nights of terror have just begun, The screams of the dying and you are one. That war in a land so far away, Now lives with you from day to day.

Rolling Thunder®, Inc. History

Rolling Thunder®, Inc., began as a demonstration following the era of the Vietnam War, which was a difficult time in America's history. Similar to today's political climate, our nation was divided over issues of peace and war. However, many of America's military were killed or missing in action and their remains were not being brought home to be respectfully buried and honored. There were also reports of live prisoners of war (POW) who were left behind when the war ended. In 1987, Vietnam veteran Ray Manzo, bothered by these accounts, came to DC with his idea and enlisted the help of fellow veterans Holland, Sides, and Sampley, to organize a motorcycle demonstration to bring attention to the POW/MIA situation. In 1988, veterans of the Vietnam War rallied together their families, fellow veterans, and veterans' advocates to organize a demonstration at the Capitol Building in Washington, DC during the Memorial Day weekend. They announced their arrival with the roar of their Harley-Davidsons, a sound not unlike the 1965 bombing campaign against North Vietnam dubbed Operation Rolling Thunder. A title that would endure time and be trademarked in 1990.

The first Run in 1988, had roughly 2500 motorcycles and riders demanding that the U.S. government account for all POW/MIA’s; it continues to grow every year, becoming the world’s largest single-day motorcycle event. Now with over a million riders and spectators combined, Rolling Thunder has evolved into an emotional display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.

Mission Statement: The major function of Rolling Thunder®, Inc. is to publicize the POW-MIA issue: To educate the public that many American Prisoners of War were left behind after all previous wars and to help correct the past and to protect future Veterans from being left behind should they become Prisoners of War-Missing In Action. We are also committed to helping American Veterans from all wars. Rolling Thunder®, Inc. is a non-profit organization and everyone donates his or her time because they believe in the POW/MIA Issue.

Official Rolling Thunder®, Inc. Website Our website is dedicated to all veterans, past, present and future. We understand the price that some have paid so that we can enjoy freedom. "When one American is not worth the effort to be found, we as Americans have lost!"

Special Attractions


Ride with the Band of Brothers USMC Motorcycle Riding Club to Rolling Thunder in DC! All riders are welcome. Organized by Band of Brothers USMC Motorcycle Riding Club. Supported by the Quantico Young Marines. Event timeline for Sunday, May 26, 2019 0600 Museum Parking Lot Opens 0700 Ceremony 0730 Departure for the Pentagon with police escort

18900 Jefferson Davis Hwy. Triangle, VA 22172 Directions - Map

Related Links

Photo: Major Larry G. Carmon, USMC (Ret), Quantico HOG Chapter member, is one of nearly one million bikers participating in the Rolling Thunder Memorial Day weekend demonstration at Harley-Davidson of Quantico "Ride for Freedom." Larry served in the Marine Corps from 1975-2003.

Run For The Wall recognizes the sacrifices and contributions made by all veterans who have served our nation. Veterans of recent conflicts and those currently on active duty are especially welcome to join us as we ride for those who cannot.

The Story behind one of the most unusual items ever left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and what may be in store for its future.

Photo credit:

Rolling Thunder®, Inc. Photographer Patrick J. Hughes, U.S.M.C., ChuLai 67-68

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall USA website is dedicated to honoring those who died in the Vietnam War. Since it first went on line in 1996 it has evolved into something more. It is now also a place of healing for those affected by one of the most divisive wars in our nation's history.

The memorial features 58,000 replica dog tags honoring those who died in the war.

The artists, who are also Vietnam vets, say it was designed to make the "impact of combat visible to all."



Coral Anika Theill, reporter, speaker and advocate, is author of BONSHEA Making Light of the Dark. Her published works address abuse, trauma recovery and healing from post traumatic stress and most recently, wounded Marines, the Warrior Games and Montford Point Marines. Her writings have encouraged and inspired numerous trauma victims and wounded Marines/soldiers recovering from PTS. Coral's positive insights as a survivor have also earned the respect of clinical therapists, advocates, attorneys, professors and authors. BONSHEA, has been used as a college text for nursing students at Linfield College, Portland, Oregon. Her Leatherneck Magazine article, "Invisible Battle Scars: Confronting the Stigma Associated with PTS & TBI," is used as a college text for the Marine Corps University, Quantico, Virginia and is cited in the U.S. Army War College "Psychological Health Notes."

"Those who serve may already know the toll of having to kill or be killed, but civilian society should also recognize that those who go into battle defending our way of life pay a price. As a non-military writer researching the subject of Marines and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and Suicide Prevention, I feel a deep gratitude to our servicemen and women and believe our society needs to do more to respect, understand and support those returning from deployment in conflict zones. - Coral Anika Theill, Author, Advocate and Contributing Writer for Leatherneck Magazine and Short Rations for Marines

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