Rolling Thunder® was started in 1987 by two Vietnam vets, Artie Muller and Ray Manzo, who wanted a way to draw attention to the plight of our country's Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA). They decided that a gathering of motorcycle riders would have the biggest impact.
In 1988, the first Rolling Thunder® "Ride for Freedom" was held in Washington, D.C. over the Memorial Day weekend with 2500 motorcycles and 5000 marchers. The marching portion of the event was dropped after the first few events but the number of motorcycles steadily increased over the years with recent numbers around 250,000.
My Rolling Thunder article gives all the details of a Rolling Thunder ride my wife and I made a few years ago.
There are many groups of riders who head to Washington each year in conjunction with the Rolling Thunder ride. The most famous of these is the Run for the Wall. This cross-country journey starts in Rancho Cucamonga, CA and ends in Washington, D.C.
Jon Mark Beilue has a detailed article about this ride in amarillo.com. Here's an excerpt:
"Gary Burd has been riding motorcycles for 48 years. He's driven 430,000 miles since he began logging them in 1999. The senior pastor at Christian Heritage Church averages close to 35,000 miles yearly, and none mean more than the 2,700-plus miles on a special trip every May.
Burd is a senior chaplain riding a 2009 Harley-Davidson Street Glide from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., to Washington. For the ninth year, he’s among approximately 2,000 bikers to make the cross-country trip for Run for the Wall." -- Jon Mark Beilue, amarillo.com
Read more of Beilue's article and be sure to watch the video at the top of his article.