Today, as on 22 previous Memorial Day weekends, literally hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists honored veterans of all generations with their “Ride to the Wall” as a part of the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally in Washington, DC.
Gathering under a cloudless blue sky in the Pentagon parking lot, the ride moved north past the Lincoln Memorial, up Constitution towards the Capitol and back down Independence, to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, or as most veterans know it, The Wall.
Started in 1987 by Ray Manzo, a USMC corporal who wanted to do something to bring attention to military personnel still classified as Prisoners of War (POW) or Missing in Action (MIA) in the Vietnam conflict, the rally has grown into a Memorial Day tradition as well as a political force for veteran benefits.
In recent years it has become a place of welcome and refuge for veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraqi conflicts.
Riders – men, women, and children – travel from around the world and from all 50 states to pay tribute those who have died in service to their country.
Rather than diminishing over the years as some early detractors hoped, this annual statement of support simply continues to grow.
Roll on . . .