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Memorial Day’s Rolling Thunder

Vietnam memorial soldiers by Frederick Hart, Washington, D.C. Photograph by Carol Highsmith, c2009.

There are many events scheduled in Washington DC for Memorial Day. The one I most look forward to is the annual Rolling Thunder’s Ride for Freedom.  It is truly moving to witness the tens of thousands of motorcycles that travel from the Pentagon, cross the Memorial Bridge, and end at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. There are actually hundreds of thousands of riders who attend the weekend long event.  Some riders, such as the Flame of Freedom chapter, come from as far away as California.

Memorial Day, Vietnam Memorial, Washington, D.C.


You can hear Rolling Thunder’s rally a mile away. The rumble and roar of the bikes penetrate the air and it feels as if the reverberation is moving through your bloodstream. Your heart feels like it is beating in time with the revs of all those engines. As the riders pass by you can see their faces, which makes you want to smile, clap, and cry at the same time. You are reminded why they are riding- they want us “not to forget” our Prisoners-of -War and Missing-in -Action (POW- MIA) and to pay respect to those who have lost their lives during war. You can read more about Rolling Thunder’s history and mission on its website .  If you cannot make it to DC, there are many videos of past rallies on YouTube.

 As you can tell, motorcycles play an important part in Rolling Thunder’s mission. Without a doubt, they would not get the same effect if they were simply riding in cars. Since many of Rolling Thunder’s members ride Harley Davidson motorcycles, I’d like to point out that the Library honored the company’s 100th Anniversary with the Hog Heaven online exhibit , complete with image galleries, articles, links and print resources.

Butte Motorcycle Club, c1914


Pic of the Week: Brahma

In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month our Pic of the Week features Lee Lawrie’s sculptural relief of the Hindu God Brahma on the bronze doors of the John Adams Building. When we first launched Inside Adams, Donna Scanlon wrote about Our Bronze Doors, which symbolize the history of written word. During my college years, I […]