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'Rolling Thunder' Roars into DC; Trump Says it Will be Back Next Year

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Military Motorcycles Topics:  Rolling Thunder, President Donald J. Trump

'Rolling Thunder' Roars into DC; Trump Says it Will be Back Next Year

VOA News
25 May 2019 (9:11PM)
Update: 26 May 2019 (9:25AM)


President Donald Trump is indicating that hundreds of thousands of "Rolling Thunder" motorcycles will be back next year to participate in the Memorial Day observance in Washington, after organizers said Sunday would be the last such ride.

"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 said on Twitter.

Rolling Thunder Executive Director Artie Muller said he had grown frustrated with dealing with the Pentagon in coordinating the annual Ride for Freedom on Memorial Day and that Sunday would be the last time the ride would be held. He said sponsors, participants and vendors were not allowed access to parking lots last year, even though Rolling Thunder said it had paid "exorbitant permit fees."

There was no immediate response from Muller to Trump's tweet.

For many people, the group's decades-long presence with the loud hum of their motorcycle engines has become synonymous with Memorial Day activities in Washington.

Rolling Thunder's Ride for Freedom was designed to raise awareness of service people who have given their lives or are missing in action during U.S. military combat.

U.S. Defense Department figures show that 83,000 American military personnel remain unaccounted for, and the large majority — about 73,000 — are from World War II. Upwards of 7,700 are from the Korean War, and some 1,600-plus are from the Vietnam War.

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