Washington (AFP) – Thousands of bikers, many of them Vietnam War veterans, converged Saturday on the US capital for what is billed as their last national “Rolling Thunder” ride in honor of missing American soldiers on Memorial Day weekend.
They got a boost from President Donald Trump himself, who tweeted Saturday that he would like to help maintain the event, which is bogged down in a dispute over costs.
The huge motorcycle rally — set to take place on Sunday — began in 1988 with fewer than 3,000 participants under the motto “We will never forget.” The goal was to press for an accounting of those missing in Vietnam.
Over the years, it has grown into a rumbling combination of protest and parade, with tens of thousands of participants and many more lining the streets from the Pentagon to the National Mall to watch — and hear — the gleaming spectacle.
Riders end up at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the nearby Lincoln Memorial for speeches and a concert on the Sunday before Memorial Day.
Unlike Veterans Day in the United States, which honors all military veterans in November, Memorial Day — on the last Monday in May — is aimed specifically at remembering those who died while serving in the US armed forces, were prisoners of war or remain unaccounted for. read more