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Rolling Thunder rolls in to commemorate Memorial Day

Friday - 5/25/2012, 3:39pm  ET

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(WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
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Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - It's time to get ready to hear the rumble of Rolling Thunder.

Hundreds of thousands of motorcycle riders are converging on D.C. this weekend for their 25th Memorial Day ride. Riders have already begun arriving for the weekend of events to remember prisoners of war and those missing in action.

"I have a brother I lost in Vietnam in 1968," says Mark Given, a Desert Storm veteran. He joined Rolling Thunder to make sure the sacrifices of people like his brother are not forgotten - especially on Memorial Day.

Given was one of about six riders from Rolling Thunder on Friday morning who laid wreaths at historic Congressional Cemetery in Southeast, paying tribute to the fallen as a bugler played taps.

Given's 12-year-old son, Martin, came with him from New Jersey this year. The youngster is named after Given's brother, "I carry his name on for who he was and for serving our country," he says.

At the grave of an unknown soldier, Carlos Hollifield says laying a wreath is appropriate.

"Our mission is to ensure that in the future we have no unknowns."

Hollifield says there are still more than 100,000 Americans from all wars still unaccounted for.

"We work to make sure that political leaders and citizens never forget our prisoners of war and our missing in action."

The riders also placed a wreath at the gravesite of several War of 1812 veterans.

Congressional Cemetery was the first national cemetery established in 1807.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)