Massive DC Memorial Day motorcycle ride aims to raise awareness of veteran issues

Bikers arriving at the Pentagon's parking lot ahead of Rolling Thunder. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
Tens of thousands of people are expected in D.C. this Memorial Day for a massive motorcycle demonstration to raise awareness of issues facing veterans nationwide.

The annual Rolling Thunder ride ended two years ago and American Veterans, or AMVETS, swept it up, creating the new Rolling to Remember ride.

The first date for the event was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

“It’s really just too important in veterans advocacy not to continue,” said AMVETS National Executive Director Joe Chenelly.

He said that the event honors veterans and raises awareness about prisoners of war. And the group is adding mental health awareness to the ride’s mission.

“It’s really important for our entire nation to understand the struggles that we’re facing. But it’s also really important for those who are struggling to realize that they’re not alone,” Chenelly said.

And it’s not just for those who have motorcycles.

Chenelly said anyone can join in and show their support.

“The roar of the motorcycles is definitely a moving spectacle,” Chenelly said. “This brings a ton of awareness. You know, it is a massive event, normally, you know, with motorcycles and American flags, as far as you can see.”

He said that the trip around the National Mall during the event normally takes about three to four hours. Memorial Day weekend this year is from Friday, May 28 to Monday, May 31.

See the full schedule of events here.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up