Rolling Thunder Roars Through Washington
Every Memorial Day Weekend since 1987, tens of thousands of motorcyclists from across the country and beyond descend on Washington D.C. to honor fallen soldiers of foreign wars. Riders rally at the north parking lot of the Pentagon, and begin their journey over Memorial Bridge, around the Lincoln Memorial, and continue down Constitution Avenue before looping back to end their ride at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The group’s original mandate, inspired by the Vietnam era, was to bring full accountability for prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA) service members of all U.S. wars. But today, Rolling Thunder has evolved into a day of remembrance for all fallen and missing U.S. servicemen and women.
For those who have never attended, it is an emotional experience. You’re likely to come across flag waving family members of fallen heroes, and veterans recalling memories of their service. And above all else, the thunderous roar of motorcycles is both indescribable and unforgettable.
Below are a few scenes from Rolling Thunder 2014.
Rolling Thunder is escorted across Memorial Bridge by a coalition of motorcycle police from Virginia and Washington D.C.
Patriotic spectators line Memorial Bridge to welcome riders into Washington D.C.
A Rolling Thunder participant covered in military patches rides by the Lincoln Memorial.
A woman holds a ‘thank you’ sign as riders enter Washington, D.C.
Military veterans exchange salutes with Rolling Thunder riders.
A woman raises an American flag at the base of the Lincoln Memorial
An American flag dances in the wind as a rider rumbles onto 23rd Street.
A Vietnam veteran shows his support as Rolling Thunder rumbles onto 23rd Street.
A prisoner of war/missing in action flag is seen attached to the rear of a rider’s motorcycle.
Spectators photograph SSgt Tim Chambers as he salutes riders coming down 23rd Street.
Staff Sergeant Tim Chambers (right) embraces Marine Corporal Sean Adams (left) who lost both legs in Afghanistan. Chambers has saluted Rolling Thunder riders for the complete duration of the event, in full dress blues at the intersection of 23rd Street and Constitution, since 2002.