Hubby and I participated yesterday in Rolling Thunder. Although touted by the media as a "tribute to all veterans", the actual function of Rolling Thunder is to bring full accountability for POWs and MIAs of all wars, and reminding the government, the Media and the public that "We Will Not Forget".
We started our adventure at our chapter: Old Glory Harley Davidson where we volunteered to carry a flag (Washington State, since that's where hubby is from), and then sat around and waiting for the procession to begin. We would have a full police motorcycle escort from Old Glory down to the Pentagon, which is totally freakin cool. Anyone that has ever driven on 295 South knows what a nightmare it is, well, not with a police escort it isn't. All entrances to 295 were blocked for us by the various motorcycle police officers to ensure we had the whole road to ourselves. To those of you who were inconvenienced by this... suck it up.
We arrived at the Pentagon around 8:45 am, parked in one of the MASSIVE almost full parking lots there, and then proceeded to wait, and wait, and wait. The procession doesn't start until noon, so there was a lot of waiting, but to bide the time, there were also a lot of good vendors, relief agencies, educational booths, free water and crackers, vendors selling food (tasty foods), selling commemorative t-shirts and patches and all sorts of stuff. Plus, there was the camaraderie of a lot of good and decent people, with common interests, common beliefs, and good stories to pass the time. THANKFULLY there was also plenty of sunscreen, but sunscreen can only do so much. I have to say that the highlight of the waiting was the misting booths that the fire departments had set up, where you could walk into a tent and get gloriously cold mist sprayed on your entire body. AAAAH!
Go here for some pictures of the event and the actual ride.
There is also a great video out there that shows all stages of the ride.
Anyhoo, so we waited and waited and waited, and finally, around 2pm, it was our turn to head out into the streets of DC. Seeing the crowds of people lined up to watch, waving American flags, cheering, waving was awe inspiring and brought a tear to the eye. People on the sides would hold out their hands and riders would low five them (as the passenger, we did some of that, swooping in close enough to reach hands). Seeing the Army soldier and Marine standing in the middle of the road saluting is very touching as well. They stand there the entire time (the parade takes about 4 hours before all bikes make it through). The whole thing just flies by in a blur and much too soon, its over.
Most of the bikers parked in designated fields to stay and watch concerts or walk through the city. We bailed and headed back home as the pups had been locked up for longer than they normally are. Once we got some rest and sprayed sunburn relief stuff all over us, we went out to Rita's for some soothing custard.