Motorcyclists from the across the nation are in the District for the 31st annual Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom. Each Memorial Day weekend, bikers salute military veterans and remember those who did not come home.
WASHINGTON — Motorcyclists from the across the nation are in the District for the 31st annual Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom.
Many more bikers will be coming in from across the D.C. area in convoys to pay tribute to military veterans and remember those who gave their lives in service.
The group is set to ride from the Pentagon to the National Mall at noon Sunday but bikers heading to the event could cause some delays on roadways as most major roads will see convoys of motorcycles heading to the event.
Rolling Thunder was established in 1987 to call attention to any prisoners of war or those listed as missing in action. Riders said they are also committed to helping U.S. veterans from all wars.
“This is beyond belief,” said Ken Rudder, a Navy veteran from Rhode Island. “All the people here are vets or honoring vets.”
Rudder has been riding for years, but this was his first time at Rolling Thunder.
By 9 a.m. on Sunday, the Pentagon was a sea of motorcycles. Rows of bikes were lined up as early as Saturday afternoon in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, while other riders toured the sites rumbling down Constitution Avenue and around Capitol Hill.
“It’s a very heartwarming, intense feeling because I’m a veteran of Desert Storm … When we come together as riders, we are family, no matter what’s on your back, no matter what you’re riding,” said Tina Flood, an Army veteran from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.
Many of the bikes fly American flags or the black and white POW/MIA flag, which features the silhouette of a bowed head and the words, “You Are Not Forgotten.”
“This is a tribute to all the fighting men and women of the United States, the sacrifices they made, and it’s to honor them,” said John Santillo of Vernon, New Jersey.
John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.
Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.