Today is when Rolling Thunder is taking place in Washington, D.C. for Memorial Day. It is truly a sight to see as vets from all over the United States ride their motorcycles to Washington, D.C., and members make a slow ride on a dedicated route called Ride to the Wall referring to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. They leave the Pentagon parking lot at noon, cross Memorial Bridge and ends at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Rolling Thunder is an advocacy group that seeks to bring full accountability for prisoners of war and those members of the service missing in action from all wars the United States has been involved in. There are more than 90 chapters throughout the United States, and overseas.
Memorial Day and Rolling Thunder
Seeing Rolling Thunder leaves you breathless. We used to visit my in-laws during Memorial Day week every spring and always wound up traveling up I-95 with packs of Veterans, and their supporters, riding to Washington, D.C., on their motorcycles for the event, which always inspired us to attend. While we were there, we visited the memorials and left knowing that we would not have the life we do today if it were not for these men and women.
Memorial Day has always held a great deal of meaning for me. Growing up I knew that the majority of the males in my very large extended family had all served. All of my Great-Uncles were WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam vets. In more recent years, many of my family and friends were Gulf War veterans. My husband’s father is buried in the hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery.
I think about their stories and these great men on this day, as well as all of the men and women who have served our country and gave the ultimate sacrifice. None of them liked war. None of them wanted to be at war. But they all revered our country and wanted to ensure it was protected from our enemies.
My Uncle Howard was lucky and landed during the second wave at Normandy. He was a phenomenal bluegrass musician and once told me the strings on his guitar lasted longer due to the lack of oil glands in his hands. Hands that were damaged during the war.
Uncle Builo lied about his age and went off to fight with his brothers. He came home at the age of 21 and went back to the local high school to keep the promise to his mother that he would graduate.
I never met my Uncle Max, but cherished his memory with his wife, my Aunt Erika, who he liberated from a POW camp in Russia.
There are so many other stories to tell and so much to see during Memorial Day. It’s not just a day for cookouts, fun on the lake, and having a day off of work. It’s about celebrating the memory of people who went out to ensure our freedom that we so valiantly fought for when founding the United States. They are still fighting. And they still don’t like war.
On this day, it is my wish that you all remember the Veterans and members of our Armed Services and know that none of them like war, but they do love our country. They have been called to protect this great nation so that we can continue to live in peace, and enjoy the freedoms and inalienable rights promised by our forefathers.