Remembering Rolling Thunder and Memorial Day

Rolling Thunder may be gone but the day we should remember and honor vets who served and died for their nation remains a special time in our hearts.
Staff Sgt. Tim Chambers, stands at attention and holds his salute as each rider starts across the Memorial Bridge at each Rolling Thunder.
A Tribute fo the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall, featuring “Good Morning Vietnam” Armed Serfices DJ Adrian Cronauer, who served in Air Force and the soldiers of that war (Filmed and edited by Doug & Amy Thompson)

Rolling Thunder, the annual ride of motorcyclists, mostly vets, ended in 2019, a victim of police requests to the Pentagon to no longer stage the event that drew hundrews of thousands to Washington, DC, each Memoiral Day.

I rode in the first Thunder in 1988 and many more, even after leading DC after 23 years and moving to Floyd County. Several trips came with the Roanoke Valley Harley Owners Group (RVHOG). One cam with the crew that rode from the Volvo Plant at Dublin, a procession that included a specially painted Volvo big rig.

Illness prevented riding to the last Thunder in 2019. Efforts have tried to revive tne ann,ual tirp to recognie those who were left behind and never found and brought home from Vietnam, an effort led, at one time, by Air Force Veteran and friend Adrian Cronauer, the armed forces DJ whose expoits were presented, in a highly-fictionalized film: “Good Morning Vietnam.”

I featured Adrian in a film about the Traveling Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall, shot at a memorial park in Fairview Heights, Illinois. The film is shown above.

We lost Adrian, and his wife Jean, several years ago and, on Memorial Day, I hope to ride to Dublin to visit their graves at the Vietnam Memorial Cemetery there. Then, I will ride to Buffalo Mountain Cemetery in Floyd County to visit the grades of my grandfather, Walter McPeak, and my mother, whose ashes were shared with her second husband, Truman Bolt, Sr. and my father, who died in 1949, at an industrial accident in Tampa, Florida.

Memorial Day is a time to honor those who served their country and died in that service. Please take a moment to remember their sacrifice.

A veteran, at Rolling Thunder, honors those he served with in Vietnam.
Riding in Rolling Thunder to remember those who served and may have been forgotten.
Granddaughter of a slain Vietnam veteran places a ribbon on his name at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall of Washington, DC.

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