Rolling Thunder: Lack of money to silence POW/MIA support run
Smyrna-Clayton Sun Times
January 30, 2019
For the past 30 years, Rolling Thunder has sponsored a ride to Washington, D.C. to remind the public about POWs and MIAs. This year will be its last.
The rumble of motorcycles rolling across the nation’s capital in memory of America’s missing service members and prisoners of war is on the road to becoming a thing of the past.
The yearly event, sponsored by the New Jersey-based Rolling Thunder, Inc., will end with its 32nd ride in May 2019, Executive Director Artie Muller and President Joe Bean announced in December.
Since 1988, Rolling Thunder’s annual First Amendment Demonstration Ride has seen hundreds of thousands of bikers and supporters converge on Washington, D.C., in support of the MIA/POW cause. The first event attracted about 2,000 bikers; more than a half-million turned out for the 2018 event.
Delawareans who ride in support of Rolling Thunder were shocked to learn the news.
Bikers coming in from across the country traditionally assemble in parking lots around the Pentagon, where Rolling Thunder would sell products such as pins, patches, and flags to raise additional money.
A particular point of contention, according to Muller, was a growing lack of cooperation with security forces at the Pentagon who he accused of diverting the bikers and not allowing them to enter the parking lots, which also prevented participants from buying Rolling Thunder products.
Department of Defense spokeswoman Susan L. Gough has denied those charges, saying the DoD is focused on supporting Rolling Thunder’s right to protest while at the same time ensuring the safety and security of both the bikers and the Pentagon complex itself.
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