Rolling Thunder Offered $200,000 in Donations to Help Them Continue Memorial Day Ride

May 28, 2019 Updated: May 28, 2019

Rolling Thunder veteran motorcyclists advocacy group has been rolling into Washington, D.C., every Memorial Day weekend since 1988. This year was believed to be their final bike ride in Washington, as escalating costs and law enforcement issues had made the event too expensive. The group planned to take their ride elsewhere.

That was before President Trump got involved. “Can’t believe that Rolling Thunder would be given a hard time with permits in Washington, D.C. They are great Patriots who I have gotten to know and see in action. They love our Country and love our Flag. If I can help, I will!” Trump wrote on Twitter on May 25.

The president, who is on an overseas trip to Japan, had tweeted to help in response to learning this year may be the last for Rolling Thunder. “The Great Patriots of Rolling Thunder WILL be coming back to Washington, D.C. next year, & hopefully for many years to come. It is where they want to be, & where they should be. Have a wonderful time today. Thank you to our great men & women of the Pentagon for working it out!” Trump tweeted on May 26, Sunday morning.

©Getty Images | ERIC BARADAT 

However, Rolling Thunder President Joe Bean told CNN on May 26 that the group was still planning to make this year’s ride their last. “This is our final ride in Washington, DC. Until we can get into the White House and talk to President Trump and see what he can do for us—this is our final ride in Washington,” said Bean.

©Getty Images | ERIC BARADAT

Vietnam war veteran Artie Muller, who started the Rolling Thunder organization, with its first ride in 1988, spoke to “Fox & Friends” on May 27 and said he was eager to talk to President Trump with the hope of Rolling Thunder continuing its annual ride.

Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America, joined Muller on the show and pledged a US$200,000 donation to ensure the ride could continue in the future. “I just want you to know how much we appreciate your mission. Remembering is too important to forget,” she said, according to a report in Fox News.

Wreaths Across America is a non-profit organization that coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and hundreds of other U.S. locations during each Christmas season.

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The annual event, which is held on Memorial Day weekend, brings hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists and supporters to Washington, D.C., every year. Rolling Thunder is a non-profit organization that honors prisoners of war and service members missing in action.

©Getty Images | ERIC BARADAT 

The ride first started in 1988 with about 2,500 riders in Washington, D.C., according to their website. In 2018, there were more than 500,000 who participated in the event. Major highways fill up with thundering motorcycles featuring American flags blowing in the breeze, as per WAMU.

“The world’s largest single-day motorcycle event” is truly an “emotional display of patriotism and respect” for all those who defend the country.

Bikers from around the nation and world gather to ride from Pentagon parking lots and ride to National Mall paying their respects to these servicemen.

©Getty Images | ERIC BARADAT

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