The ‘Rolling Thunder’ is one of America’s biggest initiatives taken up to secure the rights of our men in the uniform. An advocacy group with 90 chapters across the country, they seek to bring accountability for members of our armed services which have either been taken as prisoners of war or went missing in action. Ever since, 1988, they’ve held a ride every year, on the Sunday right before Memorial Day, in the capital city.
This year too, hundreds of thousands of bikers descended to the streets of Washington DC.
Some 500,000 riders took part in the 31st Rolling Thunder Ride and rode across the Potomac River. The ride started around noon from the Pentagon, then went through the National Mall, and finally culminated at West Potomac Park. At around 1:30 p.m., the Rolling Thunder Speakers Program was organized. Later, at 3 p.m., a musical tribute was paid to the veterans. This was followed by the Memorial Day Concert, held at the Capitol, which went on till around 8 in the evening.
Parts of the Washington Boulevard were closed for the ride.
Many of the participants of the ride were veterans who fought in the Vietnam War. Their top mission is to not let the POW-MIA issue die. Some 80,000 members of the armed services are estimated to be unaccounted for. Other than the POW-MIA issue, the ride also seeks to draw attention to other important issues pertaining to members of the armed services, including a pay raise for our soldier, adequate funding for Veteran Affairs and an adeuate health care mechanism for our veterans.