Monday, May 27, 2019

A Salute for Memorial Day

Around the Washington DC area a major event on Memorial Day weekend has been the Rolling Thunder bike run. Begun in 1988 by Vietnam veterans as a way to draw attention to MIA's and POW's it has been a peaceful demonstration of the First Amendment every year. However the organizer had declared last December that this, the 31st ride, would be the last one here in the nation's capital city. We wanted to see it and, with a record number of participants (estimated to be greater than 1 million bikes), it seemed a lot of motor cyclists wanted to ride in it.
 By 11.30am we staked out our position on the curb, under some trees at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 14th Street. The first bikes started appearing at 12.15pm and we sat or stood and watched at that spot until 3.30pm. There was lots of variety but this one seems a good one to begin with. Flying the flag of the US Marine Corps this is an owner who loves his bike and his country.
 The people watching was great too. This keen photographer, herself apparently a veteran, whooped and hollered as the bikes cruised by and took a lot of photographs too.
 Colorful bikes from North Carolina.
Not all the bikes were big rigs or colorful but the riders all wanted to be there and many brought  a friend to ride pillion.
 Some larger groups rode in a somewhat orderly formation.
 Some rode alone and were clearly delighted to be there on this hot, steamy day with a great and friendly crowd watching.
 Some were very serious as they rode by.
 And some had driven from far away like these ones from Texas.
 Not all the veterans were on a motor cycle.
 Check out this one. Look closely and see the license plate indicates that passenger in the trailer is there routinely. (DOG9)
 Large numbers of riders had come from North Carolina so I'm including this shot overlooking the World War II Memorial.
 Thunder storms threatened to spoil the day but thankfully did not eventuate.
 The ride had begun in the parking lots at the Pentagon just across the river in Virginia, crossed over the Arlington Memorial Bridge, up Constitution Ave and across in front of the Capitol then back down Independence Ave, round the top of the tidal basin and on to end in West Potomac Park. It took  over four hours for all to pass by. Those who parked their bikes there at the end could walk over to the Lincoln Memorial to meet and greet friends and visit the war memorials in the vicinity.
Many chose to finish out the experience by going down to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial which honors those servicemen and women who fought in the Vietnam war. Names inscribed on the wall are those who died and those who remain missing in action.

On each Memorial Day we should take quiet time to honor all those who put on a uniform, went to war to fight for the freedom of those at home and died doing that duty.

1 comment:

  1. Nice photos - glad the weather cooperated for you and the riders!


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