Rolling Thunder heads for its final ride in 2019

Marine Staff Sgt. Tim Chambers, stands at attention and holds his salute as each rider starts across the Memorial Bridge at each Rolling Thunder.

Learned Wednesday that Rolling Thunder, the Memorial Day motorcycle ride to Washington and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, makes it’s last run in 2019.

Matt Danielson of The Motorcycle Law Group said “the 32nd Annual Rolling Thunder Ride to DC will be the last.”

Danielson quotes Pete Zaleski, vice president of Rolling Thunder, Inc., as confirmation of reports that the expense of putting on the annual event that brings hundreds of thousands of bikers to the nation’s capital each year is too much for the group to shoulder.

Reports also say the Pentagon, where Rolling Thunder bikers stage, is getting pressure from their police to stop.

I rode in Rolling Thunder 1 in 1988 as a protest against abandoning service member unaccounted for after the Vietnam wall and rain on each of its runs for several years afterward.  I’ve missed recent years, particularly after my serious motorcycle accident in 2012 but will head for DC in May of next year for what looks like the final ride.

Reports Danielson:

We have been told that Rolling Thunder, Inc. will continue to be active, and will continue its work on behalf of POW/MIAs, veterans, and active duty military. However, if you have always wanted to take part in the Annual Ride to DC, you may want to book your rooms now. 2019 will be your last chance

The cause that brought bikers and veterans together each year is still an unfulfilled need that must be addressed.  Let’s hope that cause is not forgotten and someone picks up the flag to lead Rolling Thunder after the final ride in 2019.

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