News & Politics

31st Annual 'Rolling Thunder' Ride Draws a Million Spectators, Participants to D.C.

31st Annual 'Rolling Thunder' Ride Draws a Million Spectators, Participants to D.C.
Participants in the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally ride past Arlington Memorial Bridge, during the annual Rolling Thunder parade, ahead of Memorial Day on Sunday, May 27, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

If you’ve never been a part of “Rolling Thunder” — a motorcycle rally that has taken place in Washington, D.C., for the past 31 years — you are missing a truly special event.

Not an “event” — more like a “happening.” A million riders and spectators descend on Washington every Memorial Day weekend to honor the fallen and call attention to the plight of veterans.

The president tweeted his support yesterday.

Fox News:

Rolling Thunder Executive Director Artie Muller told Fox News too many of America’s veterans still feel left behind after serving their country. “These men and women have fought for the rights of all of us, so that we can live free the way that we do.”

The ride proceeded from the Pentagon to West Potomac Park.

Rolling Thunder aims “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 the future Veterans from being left behind should they become Prisoners Of War-Missing In Action,” according to its mission statement.


Despite the huge crowds, it’s a fairly laid-back event. There are usually some arrests for drugs and public intoxication. But considering the size of the crowds, it’s safe enough that parents bring their kids.

What struck me most about the Rolling Thunder rallies I attended when I lived in Washington was the diversity of the riders. From kids to grandpas, every color imaginable, men, women, many, many veterans — it really is a special slice of Americana on display.

And patriotism. These days, it’s apparently one of the few refuges for the patriotic to express their feelings about America without worrying that some antifa thug is going to throw a bottle at your head.

This is definitely an event you should put on your bucket list.

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