Rolling Thunder Is Ceasing Its Operation After Three Decades

Rolling Thunder is an American non-profit motorcycle advocacy group that seeks to raise awareness and bring accountability for all prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA) service members of the United States. The group’s first demonstration took place in 1988 and has since expanded to include over 90 chapters across the US and abroad.  

The leading motorcycle event known as the Ride for Freedom occurs every Sunday after Memorial Day through Washington D.C., starting from the Pentagon at noon, crossing the Memorial Bridge, to the Lincoln Memorial, with a mass assembly at the Reflecting Pool, and ending at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial “The Wall.”

During the Rolling Thunder weekend, members and visitors spend their time across the capital city, visiting memorials, listen to speeches given by members, military officials, and politicians, and pay homage to all those that have made enormous sacrifices for their country. 

Rolling Thunder Is Ceasing Its Operation After 32 Years

This year, however, in May 2019, it was the last time you would hear the rumble of motorcycles rolling across the nation’s capital in memory of POWs and service members missing in action. Rolling Thunder has become a thing of the past with its 32nd ride.

I thought, this can’t be happening,” said U.S. Navy and Air Force Reserve veteran John “Green Machine” Greene. “To discontinue the Ride means people may not pay as much attention to the issue. I think we’re going to lose some of that awareness,” he continued.  

Indeed, raising awareness about POWs and MIAs was the entire reason for Rolling Thunder’s existence. Its purpose was to bring to light the tremendous sacrifice all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have made for the United States and for what it stands to represent. Over the decades since it was in operation, Rolling Thunder has successfully sponsored federal legislation aimed to support numerous POW-MIA related issues. 

Executive Director Artie Muller said in a statement that “It has been a hard decision to make, after much discussion and thought over the last six months. Rolling Thunder national officers have concluded to end our 32-year annual D.C. Memorial Weekend event.” He blames the rising costs and lack of funding as being the main reasons for ending this three-decade-long tradition.  

Patrick Hughes, a Vietnam veteran of the Marine Corps and the official photographer for the Ride said that “What I try to do is educate people to let them know that their freedom, which they may take for granted, comes at a very high cost.”

Both Muller and Hughes hold their optimism, however, saying that the other 90 chapters of Rolling Thunder will continue their activity in the years to come. “It’s not really going to change,” said Hughes. “Instead of going to Washington, it will be local. It may even be better because it will bring more attention locally.”

The POW-MIA Freedom Car

The NASCAR POW-MIA Freedom Car is a joint effort between Team Johnson Motorsports, the Freedom Car drivers, and MyComputerCareer. Like Rolling Thunder, its purpose is to raise awareness about POWs and MIAs. But now that Rolling Thunder is part of history, Freedom Car’s role is more critical than ever. 

MyComputerCareer’s founder and CEO, Tony Galati, said that “The Freedom Car is part of a joint effort to raise awareness for the cause of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action service members of the United States military. Team Johnson Motorsports, the Freedom Car drivers, and MyComputerCareer hope to inspire and educate others about the great service and sacrifice provided by all servicemen and servicewomen, but especially by Prisoners-of-War and the Missing-in-Action.”

MyComputerCareer is here to help any veteran looking to enter the Information Technology sector. We provide numerous training courses, helping you earn over a dozen I.T. certifications. We will also help you find employment, streamlining the transition from military to civilian life. Contact us today for more information!

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