WASHINGTON — Amid a scandal in which a number of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care facilities across the country are accused of covering up long appointment times while sick veterans wait for care, the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride and rally is coming to town.
This is the ride’s 27th year, and like clockwork, the Washington D.C. area expects to see tens of thousands of these bikers, flags flying, roll in over the course of the next two days.
The organization was formed in 1987 to remember and support the return of Vietnam War American missing in action (MIA) and prisoners of war (POW), but has since morphed into a massive advocacy event for supporting veterans of all wars. Bikers are expected to travel into the city all weekend for a number of events, culminating in a coordinated ride from the Pentagon to the National Mall for a rally on Sunday. More on the schedule, here.
This weekend, the VA scandal, which erupted in April when it was reported that 40 veterans may have died waiting for care in Phoenix, AZ., is on a lot of veterans’ minds.
“Were all willing to give our life, but then they treat you like garbage when you come back,” one veteran tells WTOP. “You know there’s always money for the war.”
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WTOP reporter Andrew Mollenbeck contributed to this report