Rolling Thunder Rolls Into The Capitol This Sunday

Staff Sergeant Tim Chambers Salutes Rolling Thunder Riders

The largest gathering of motorcyclists isn’t found among the sands of Daytona, nor in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

It is found on the Sunday before Memorial Day, appropriately in our nation’s capitol.

Police and organizers expect close to a million motorcyclists and their supporters to arrive in Washington DC for the 23rd Annual Rolling Thunder Memorial Day “Ride for Freedom” demonstration.

Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) will ride at the head of the procession and speak at the Reflecting Pool Program immediately following the ride. Forbes was invited to participate in the events by Rolling Thunder for his commitment to veterans’ issues in Congress.

At it’s heart, Rolling Thunder is not a rally, nor is it a charity run.  It was started by a small group of veterans  to bring attention to the plight of American POW’s and MIA’s still living in captivity, most notably in Viet Nam.

That small core, namely Artie Muller, Ray Manzo, John Holland, Walt Sides and Ted Sampley and a few others scattered across the country, organized the first ride which drew approximately 2500 riders.  The term Rolling Thunder was chosen because,

“Their arrival would be announced by the roar of their motorcycles, a sound not unlike the 1965 bombing campaign against North Vietnam dubbed Operation Rolling Thunder. Hence, they would call themselves “Rolling Thunder” a title that would endure time and be trademarked in 1990.” Rolling Thunder Website

A national organization has grown out of this protest ride which works 12 months out of the year advocating and/or co-authored legislation to improve the POW/MIA issue, veterans’ benefits, concerns and interests

The group says it’s major function according to its mission statement  is

to publicize the POW-MIA issue. To educate the public of the fact that many American prisoners of war were left behind after all past wars. To help correct the past and to protect the future veterans from being left behind should they become Prisoners Of War/Missing In Action. We are committed to helping American veterans from all wars. Rolling Thunder, Inc. is a non-profit organization and everyone donates his or her time because they believe in the POW/MIA issue.

Membership is not limited to motorcyclists.  For more info about joining or what you can do to help,  visit the Rolling Thunder National Website


Rolling Thunder Rolls Into The Capitol This Sunday

Staff Sergeant Tim Chambers Salutes Rolling Thunder Riders

The largest gathering of motorcyclists isn’t found among the sands of Daytona, nor in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

It is found on the Sunday before Memorial Day, appropriately in our nation’s capitol.

Police and organizers expect close to a million motorcyclists and their supporters to arrive in Washington DC for the 23rd Annual Rolling Thunder Memorial Day “Ride for Freedom” demonstration.

Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) will ride at the head of the procession and speak at the Reflecting Pool Program immediately following the ride. Forbes was invited to participate in the events by Rolling Thunder for his commitment to veterans’ issues in Congress.

At it’s heart, Rolling Thunder is not a rally, nor is it a charity run.  It was started by a small group of veterans  to bring attention to the plight of American POW’s and MIA’s still living in captivity, most notably in Viet Nam.

That small core, namely Artie Muller, Ray Manzo, John Holland, Walt Sides and Ted Sampley and a few others scattered across the country, organized the first ride which drew approximately 2500 riders.  The term Rolling Thunder was chosen because,

“Their arrival would be announced by the roar of their motorcycles, a sound not unlike the 1965 bombing campaign against North Vietnam dubbed Operation Rolling Thunder. Hence, they would call themselves “Rolling Thunder” a title that would endure time and be trademarked in 1990.” Rolling Thunder Website

A national organization has grown out of this protest ride which works 12 months out of the year advocating and/or co-authored legislation to improve the POW/MIA issue, veterans’ benefits, concerns and interests

The group says it’s major function according to its mission statement  is

to publicize the POW-MIA issue. To educate the public of the fact that many American prisoners of war were left behind after all past wars. To help correct the past and to protect the future veterans from being left behind should they become Prisoners Of War/Missing In Action. We are committed to helping American veterans from all wars. Rolling Thunder, Inc. is a non-profit organization and everyone donates his or her time because they believe in the POW/MIA issue.

Membership is not limited to motorcyclists.  For more info about joining or what you can do to help,  visit the Rolling Thunder National Website


Dennis Hopper Takes His Last Ride

Dennis Hopper, dies at age 74

While he went on to portray characters in movies with more box office success and critical acclaim, motorcyclists will forever remember him dressed in Native American-style buckskin pants and shirts and a bushman hat.  He was Billy in the movie Easy Rider,

Today, Billy took his last ride. We are sad to have to say goodbye.  While not official, it is assumed that he lost his long fight with prostate cancer.

It has been said that “death only closes a man’s reputation and determines it as good or bad” Dennis Hopper, 74 years old was, by those who knew him best, a Hollywood icon who dabbled in fame and lived the life of some, but not all, of the characters he portrayed.

Even before the movie Easy Rider made him famous, he appeared with James Dean in the movies Rebel without a Cause and Giant and with John Wayne in True Grit, and The Sons of Katie Elder.

Almost ten years later, Hopper and Fonda along with Terry Southern wrote the screenplay and Hopper starred and directed Easy Rider,  the movie that defined the counter-culture generation.  The film won an award at Cannes and later Hopper was nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Original Screenplay.

The movie also inspired the magazine Easyriders which enjoys continued newsstand success today and for a time was used on motorcycle shops and restaurants.  The Easyrider bike shows and motorcycle rodeo tours continue to this day and attract tens of thousands of hardcore two wheel enthusiasts to events all across the USA.

In March of this year, a frail and bandaged Dennis Hopper appeared in Hollywood to see a star unveiled in front of Grumman’s Theater on the Walk of Fame in his honor.

Once ostracized by Hollywood because of drugs and temperament, Hopper never surrendered to the myth that his career was over, and went on to find steady work in an industry that is at times, unforgiving, nostalgic and just as hard to define as Dennis Hopper.

Hopper’s final work is a soon to be released 3D family film, Alpha and Omega, in which only his voice will be heard.

I imagine Dennis Hopper, in his final few hours on earth may have been thinking about a line he said as Billy in Easy Rider.

“Whew. Man, look, I gotta get out of here, man. Now we – we got things we want to do, man, like – I just – uh – I gotta get out of here”

Godspeed Billy.


Dennis Hopper Takes His Last Ride

Dennis Hopper, dies at age 74

While he went on to portray characters in movies with more box office success and critical acclaim, motorcyclists will forever remember him dressed in Native American-style buckskin pants and shirts and a bushman hat.  He was Billy in the movie Easy Rider,

Today, Billy took his last ride. We are sad to have to say goodbye.  While not official, it is assumed that he lost his long fight with prostate cancer.

It has been said that “death only closes a man’s reputation and determines it as good or bad” Dennis Hopper, 74 years old was, by those who knew him best, a Hollywood icon who dabbled in fame and lived the life of some, but not all, of the characters he portrayed.

Even before the movie Easy Rider made him famous, he appeared with James Dean in the movies Rebel without a Cause and Giant and with John Wayne in True Grit, and The Sons of Katie Elder.

Almost ten years later, Hopper and Fonda along with Terry Southern wrote the screenplay and Hopper starred and directed Easy Rider,  the movie that defined the counter-culture generation.  The film won an award at Cannes and later Hopper was nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Original Screenplay.

The movie also inspired the magazine Easyriders which enjoys continued newsstand success today and for a time was used on motorcycle shops and restaurants.  The Easyrider bike shows and motorcycle rodeo tours continue to this day and attract tens of thousands of hardcore two wheel enthusiasts to events all across the USA.

In March of this year, a frail and bandaged Dennis Hopper appeared in Hollywood to see a star unveiled in front of Grumman’s Theater on the Walk of Fame in his honor.

Once ostracized by Hollywood because of drugs and temperament, Hopper never surrendered to the myth that his career was over, and went on to find steady work in an industry that is at times, unforgiving, nostalgic and just as hard to define as Dennis Hopper.

Hopper’s final work is a soon to be released 3D family film, Alpha and Omega, in which only his voice will be heard.

I imagine Dennis Hopper, in his final few hours on earth may have been thinking about a line he said as Billy in Easy Rider.

“Whew. Man, look, I gotta get out of here, man. Now we – we got things we want to do, man, like – I just – uh – I gotta get out of here”

Godspeed Billy.