Rolling Thunder 2008

| May 25, 2008

This post is dedicated to my cousin Scott who couldn’t make it to Rolling Thunder this year because he’s escorting the Vietnam Wall back home as a member of the Patriot Guard. I drank his beer, too.

Every year this event gets bigger. This year, according to Fox News, Rolling Thunder included 350,000 motorcycles. I walked the route from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol and after an hour and a half, there were still riders passing me. There were thousands more parked at various spots that didn’t participate.

Before I left, I saw Fox News interviewing actor John Amos (from Good Times) who had joined the Rolling Thunder organization just yesterday. He said in the interview “I don’t see anybody rowing boats to get to Cuba…so I think we’ve got a pretty good thing going here [in the US]”. That stuck in my mind as I walked across DC and photographed the event today.

I got to the bridge from the Pentagon just as they crossed the Potomac with Robert E. Lee’s mansion in the Arlington National Cemetery as background;

The best seats in the house were on the Lincoln Memorial;

I stopped by the Vietnam Memorial on my way along the route;

I saw these guys there, but they were dressed a bit too modern to be Ron Paul supporters so I figured they were OK;

It’s nice to see folks waving a flag for no other reason than because it’s Memorial Day for a change;

Some Rolling Thunder members were content to just watch;

This was the best view, though;

Everyone turned away from the parade to watch him land;

Then back to Rolling Thunder;

If there were 350,000 motorcycles, there were at least that many spectators. They stretched along the two-plus mile route, both sides of Constitution Avenue, thicker in places than others. But it must’ve been a bitter crowd, clinging to their guns, motorcycles and faith because all of the souvenir stands were fully stocked with Obama ’08 T-shirts;

I stopped by the Navy Memorial where the day before, Rolling Thunder had stopped to pay their respects to Navy veterans.

I hope you enjoy this video I put together under the influence of Saranac Black and Tan;

Zero Ponsdorf sends this link of John Amos speaking at the Lincoln Memorial.

Thanks to Gateway Pundit, Boston Maggie, Blatherings and Jammie Wearing Fool for linking.

Category: Protests/Rallies, Saranac Beer, Support the troops

Comments (19)

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  1. Yankeemom | May 27, 2008
  1. ponsdorf says:

    Thanks Jonn.

    ps My next bike will have to be a trike, bad knees. And probably a Honda, bad ears. [grin]

  2. Just A Grunt says:

    Kind of amazing ain’t it. Something like this draws over 350,000 people and yet it can’t get as much attention as 8 post menopausal women pretending to be witches and generally making a nuisance out of themselves with their seizure inducing pink t-shirts.
    Hats off to all the Rolling Thunder riders who were able to participate and remember what Memorial Day is all about.

  3. zoey says:

    i love this post and your pictures are incredible! Thank you for your narrative too. May I link back to this? By the way I am a big rolling thunder fan and wish i could have been there for all of it on this most special of holidays.
    blessings to you and your cousin scott. if you have time, please come visit my blog — its not as terrific as yours but i am working on it ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Maggie45 says:

    There’s nothing more beautiful than the sight and sound of those bikes…and the riders of course. Thank you for this. I’m a Patriot Guard Rider. We’re doing a welcome home tomorrow for a Marine major in Tucson. Thank you again.

  5. robin says:

    Great job as always my friend. Thank you for your service to our Country. I’m hoisting a Corona with Lime in your honor!

  6. yankeemom says:

    Thanks for the photos and video, Jonn! (I was one of the RT’s holding one of the banners so I missed the run.) Hopefully, I’ll get to actually meet you at one of these events we both seem to go to and shake your hand.

    Jonn wrote; I’d be happy to meet you, too, but as some people might attest, I’m hard to pin down during these things. We’ll take a shot, though.

  7. Cousin Scott says:

    We had the honor of escorting the “Dignaty Memorial Wall” and have it in Geneva Ny for the Memorial Day weekend. And as Jonn has stated it was part of the reason I wasn’t in DC for Rolling Thunder. I’m lucky though, he sent me a copy of the post I believe just ahead of putting it out. I get to be there vicariously because of him.I’m flattered and humbled.

    Those of you that read this post may know I didn’t spend time in the service,just a life choice. But I really don’t think that anyone in the country can appreciate what these guys do more than me,yep maybe as much, but not more. Maggie 45, thanks for your time as a PGR member. But what we do is,just a little thing, compaired to what the fighting forces sacrifice. At least in my oppinion, and we all know what their worth.

    To those who have left this country in it’s defence or support I have a debt I can’t possibly repay. To those that came back, welcome home.

    To those like Joseph Valesko Jr. the name I go to visit on the wall no words can explain the honor I feel just to have known you.

    I can ramble along for hours espically when beer has been added, with that said I’ll just say good night to all.

  8. Wish I could have been there. Next year, for sure!

  9. defendUSA says:

    John…I don’t know you, but thanks for all these great photos. I was in DC as well this weekend and I was equally humbled by all of the events we attended. There is nothing like all that “bitter”, is there? ๐Ÿ™‚ I shed many tears. Thankfully, I did not see the same scum as I saw last year. I remembered many and thanked as many as I could. Your posts, all of them, are awesome. It is too bad we don’t see more on the news. Didn’t I hear that there was a Patriot network over at the GOE? You should try to get it on there even after the fact! You Rock!

  10. Joe from Jersey says:

    My wife and I love to ride. We were there this weekend with our kids (teenagers), which means we weren’t riding. But the sight off all those bikes and riders there to pay tribute to our fallen and those who served was spectacular to say the least.

    I may not have served, but I will always support our troops, no matter when, no matter where.

    It was an honor to spend this weekend with all those who attended.

  11. Kevin says:

    This was my first year at Rolling Thunder. I spent 20 years in the Army and 17 of that was spent overseas. I returned to the home to the USA October 2008. I have been very disappointed by the “We Support the military” talk and no action. That was until Sunday 25 May in Washington DC. It was the people on the bridges and the sides of the road that brought real tears to eyes. Those who came just to wave the flag and cheer us on that made this special.

    I have been so sickened by the likes of Code Pink(o) groups. Seeing all those true Americans out there Sunday was so up lifting I can’t put it into words.

    Thank you for taking time out of your life to come and support the ride, if only to see all the bikes. If you were not there, come next year. Rolling Thunder is something you’ll never forget.

    See you all next Memorial Day weekend for Rolling Thunder 22.

    Kevin

    Jonn wrote:
    Welcome home, Kevin.

  12. Maggie45 says:

    Welcome home, Kevin!!! Come join us in the Patriot Guard Riders. We support our troops and their families on a daily basis.

    http://www.patriotguard.org/

  13. Welcome home brother. I don’t know if you happen to run by me but I held a salute to honor you home. Long over due appreciation.

    Motivated SSgt Tim Chambers

    Jonn wrote;
    I’m sorry I didn’t recognize your name at first. Welcome, SSgt. I hope we get to meet next year. I’ve added a link to your MySpace page so everyone else knows who you are, too. Please keep me up to date with your doin’s.

  14. Joe says:

    When I’m at D.C all I see is the true heart of the warrior God I serve. I see HEROES every where I look. I hug, I cry, I pray.
    I pray this nation will grow up and and give true honor to those who sacrificed and gave all to protect our right to live in this nation of so much freedom.
    There is a true reality that freedom has been bought at a very high price.
    It’s time we as a nation start to bless God and give these sacrifices true meaning again.
    For those still living it, God Bless and Welcome Home. SSG U.S. Army 1975 to 1983

  15. Connie says:

    It makes me so proud to be an American to see the brotherhood our Armed Forces show towards one another and Rolling Thunder is an awesome tribute ,Just AWESOME!!! God Bless you each and ever one. Keep on Rolling “salute to you all! -Hey Joe you said what I feel—
    Connie (Alabama)

  16. Ally White (Michigan) says:

    First off, WELCOME HOME Kevin! Thank you for your service. I rode down from Michigan. It’s my second time attending the event. I am a US Army veteran and a Patriot Guard Rider. This is an awsome showing of comittment and solidarity. Gives me goose bumps thinking about it.

    Great pictures, I feel like I’m right back there.

  17. TIm C says:

    I am the Saluting Marine. I stood for many things that day. I stood in pain for many reasons. I stood for many things left unsaid. I stood for many promises unkept. I stood for many voices unheard. I stood for many heroics that have gone un-sung. I stood for those who cant. I stood for those who wont. I stood for those who would if they could. I stood for those that have taken their freedom for granted. I stood for an awakening to the senses of those who display hate and lack of respect for each other. I stood in memory of those that have served before. I stood to give a proper welcome home to ever Veteran that has walked upon the valley in a shadow of death. These were not just old harley bikers with pony tails, these were Patriots young and old riding for a common cause. A cause to great for you to fathom. One that you could be a hell of a voice and a writer to capture and explain to people all over the world not merely just in our own back yard, and capture like the professional you have the potential to be. Step up to the plate, and do not take away from those that are showing compassion and caring for others. What if people didnt care. What if people turned the other cheek, where would we be then? Just some food for thought. From one that displays public service on a daily basis, and goes above and beyond the call to duty. And before you knock my service and care for this country, I will empower you with my message that will ring throughout this country and world some day. When another displays compassion for another American in times of need they are a Patriot in my mind. When they live out their dreams, and the pursuit of happiness they honor the Service Members Service and do not let it go in vain, now I also inspire young Americans to further there education because some day down the road some day they will be called upon to make a difference and that just might save lifes

  18. I am the Saluting Marine. I stood for many things that day. I stood in pain for many reasons. I stood for many things left unsaid. I stood for many promises unkept. I stood for many voices unheard. I stood for many heroics that have gone un-sung. I stood for those who cant. I stood for those who wont. I stood for those who would if they could. I stood for those that have taken their freedom for granted. I stood for an awakening to the senses of those who display hate and lack of respect for each other. I stood in memory of those that have served before. I stood to give a proper welcome home to ever Veteran that has walked upon the valley in a shadow of death. These were not just old harley bikers with pony tails, these were Patriots young and old riding for a common cause. A cause to great for you to fathom. One that you could be a hell of a voice and a writer to capture and explain to people all over the world not merely just in our own back yard, and capture like the professional you have the potential to be. Step up to the plate, and do not take away from those that are showing compassion and caring for others. What if people didnt care. What if people turned the other cheek, where would we be then? Just some food for thought. From one that displays public service on a daily basis, and goes above and beyond the call to duty. And before you knock my service and care for this country, I will empower you with my message that will ring throughout this country and world some day. When another displays compassion for another American in times of need they are a Patriot in my mind. When they live out their dreams, and the pursuit of happiness they honor the Service Members Service and do not let it go in vain, now I also inspire young Americans to further there education because some day down the road some day they will be called upon to make a difference and that just might save lifes