8 Things You May Not Know About Rolling Thunder

U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Tim Chambers salutes the Rolling Thunder members as they travel to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial through downtown Washington, D.C., May 30, 2010. Thousands of bikers from across the United States turned out for the annual event that aims to raise awareness for the needs of veterans. DoD photo by Fred W. Baker III

U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Tim Chambers salutes the Rolling Thunder members as they travel to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial through downtown Washington, D.C., May 30, 2010. Thousands of bikers from across the United States turned out for the annual event that aims to raise awareness for the needs of veterans. DoD photo by Fred W. Baker III

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

In 1987, two Vietnam War veterans met to discuss how they could bring awareness to prisoners of war (POW) and those missing in action (MIA) from the Vietnam War. Those veterans were named Artie Muller and Ray Manzo, and out of that meeting, Rolling Thunder was born. From that point on, veterans took to the cause, and every year on Memorial Day, they and thousands of others, ride into Washington D.C. in unison, flying the Stars and Stripes beside stark black POW/MIA flags.

Here are some other facts you may not know about Rolling Thunder and the history behind it.

1. Rolling Thunder Inc. is not a motorcycle rally. It is a demonstration for POW/MIA accountability of all wars, reminding the government, the media and the public: “We Will Not Forget.”

2. The number of participants/spectators for the first Rolling Thunder in 1987 was 2,500; the last demonstration was estimated at 900,000.

3. Rolling Thunder, Inc. is a non-profit organization comprised mostly of veterans — many of whom ride motorcycles. — neither qualification is a prerequisite to join.

A mass of motorcycles and people fill the Pentagon's North Parking lot May 29 as hundreds of thousands of riders from throughout the country gather for Rolling Thunder 2005. The annual ride, which began in 1988 pays tribute to those killed in Vietnam and remembers those missing from all conflicts. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Cherie Thurlby, USAF

A mass of motorcycles and people fill the Pentagon’s North Parking lot May 29 as hundreds of thousands of riders from throughout the country gather for Rolling Thunder 2005. The annual ride, which began in 1988 pays tribute to those killed in Vietnam and remembers those missing from all conflicts. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Cherie Thurlby, USAF

4. The demonstration gets its name from the 1965 bombing campaign against North Vietnam dubbed “Operation Rolling Thunder.”

5. Rolling Thunder Charities, Inc. is a non-profit organization that helps raise funds for veterans, active duty military and their families in need of help.

6. Rolling Thunder Inc. has advocated and/or co-authored legislation to improve the POW/MIA issue, veterans’ benefits, concerns and interests as follows.

7. Rolling Thunder, Inc. veterans speak to youth groups about the honor of serving their country and educating them about the POW/MIA issue.

8. Thousands of hours are logged by Rolling Thunder, Inc. members at local VA hospitals nationwide.

Three Vietnam veterans listen to the speakers at the Rolling Thunder XIX Ride for Freedom at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., May 28. Photo by Sgt. Sara Wood, USA

Three Vietnam veterans listen to the speakers at the Rolling Thunder XIX Ride for Freedom at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., May 28. Photo by Sgt. Sara Wood, USA

———-

Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

 

This entry was posted in DoD News, Memorial Day, Rotator and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.