A great story shared by William “CryoVac” Perley about his experience at this years Rolling Thunder:
The Pentagon parking lot is filled – a sea of motorcycles – probably half a million bikes, mostly veterans. Quite a few Viet Nam vets. A lot of guys coming back from Nam met criticism if not spit from other Americans when they came back home. The alienation contributed to many of them becoming bikers. They sort of left the normal life to try to regain the intense brotherhood and adrenaline rush that they had in the war. This was my 3rd time attending Rolling Thunder. There still seems to be very little interest in the main stream media for the largest motorcycle rally in the world in honor of our country’s veterans. That neglect bothers me. I flew an American flag and a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag (this flag has become the Tea Party’s flag). About 40 guys and girls from the chapter (NYC HOG) made the trip. You spend a lot of time in, let’s say, fellowship and looking at other peoples’ bikes, but during the parade through the park around the monuments, the streets lined with people waving American flags, you get catches in your throat. A veteran in uniform, standing alone, saluting. The thing you hear the most is “thank you.” I was never in the military, but I am very proud to do what I can to salute those who do. One of the things near the top of my list of reasons “why I ride.”
Rolling Thunder is a non-profit organization which is dedicated to the search of American soldiers who are prisoners of war “POW”/missing in action “MIA”. Rolling Thunder was established in 1987 and incorporated in 1995. All Rolling Thunder members are non-paid including its officers, board members and even its founder/executive director Artie “dictator” Muller. The organization named itself after the continuous bombing campaign of North Vietnam in 1965 which was known as Operation Rolling Thunder. They are known for their annual motorcycle rides in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day.