LIVE EVENT Listen at 1:30 p.m. as President Obama delivers his end of the year news conference.

Rolling through D.C. to remember the fallen, missing

WASHINGTON – Thousands of motorcyclists gathered at the parking lots of the Pentagon Sunday morning for the start of the 26th annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally.

The motorcycles paraded through the city, but the mission of Rolling Thunder is to “never forget” prisoners of war and those missing in action, mostly but not exclusively from Vietnam – and to make sure the rest of the nation doesn’t, either. Many participants wore military patches from their youthful service.

“This is not a parade,” one rider said at the starting point on Sunday; “it’s a protest.”

Even an eight-year-old spectator knew it was about “remembering people who served.”

At the same time, one participant called the ride down to the Pentagon at sunrise “spiritual.”

WTOP’s David Burd contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.