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

Well before the noon start, many bikers had already gathered at the Pentagon. (WTOP/David Burd)
A Marine who attends the start of every year's Rolling Thunder. (WTOP/David Burd)
Thousands of bikers had already congregated at the Pentagon hours before the noon start. (WTOP/David Burd)
The scene at the beginning of the Rolling Thunder rally. (WTOP/David Burd)
The scene at the start of Rolling Thunder. (WTOP/David Burd)
The Rolling Thunder rally is ready to begin. (WTOP/David Burd)

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.

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