Theodore's World: Rolling Thunder

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May 25, 2008

Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder members and others spoke at the annual Memorial Day Rally honoring their fallen comrades and vowing to continue their efforts on POW/MIA issues. Special guests were the families of Staff Sargeant Keith "Matt" Maupin, a prisoner in the Iraq war whose remains were recovered in March 2008, and Private Byron W. Fouty and Sargeant Alex R. Jimenez who were both captured May 12, 2007.

Brigadier General Wilma L. Vaught USAF (Ret.) delivered the keynote address.

This event was held on a stage at the Reflecting Pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Rolling Thunder was founded by motorcycle enthusiasts who were veterans of the Vietnam War.


1,804 Americans remain missing in Vietnam. Since the war ended over 6,000 reports concerning Americans still alive in Southeast Asia have been received by the government. 600 Americans were lost in Laos (The Black Hole), NOT A SINGLE MAN WAS EVER RELEASED. The Pathet Laos government stated on several occasions that they held prisoners, yet our government NEVER NEGOTIATED FOR THEIR FREEDOM. These men were abandoned by the government for which they bravely fought.

POW/MIA Statistics

World War I - 3,350
·World War II - 78,753
·Korea - 8,170
·Vietnam - 1,783
·Persian Gulf - 2

We can thank Senators John traitorous rat snake Kerry and his good bud John McCain for these POW's stats. In their rush to "normalize" relations with Vietnam, they ran roughshod over the POW/MIA hearings.

The select committee, established August 1991, was tasked with the mission of resolving the lingering POW/MIA issue by either gaining the release of American prisoners of war believed to be alive under the control of Hanoi, but never released, or explaining what happened to the missing prisoners.
It has been made obvious that McCain and Kerry were more interested in using the Select Committee as a means to justify lifting the U.S. Imposed Trade Embargo against Vietnam then resolving the issue of missing U.S.Service men and POW's.

The Select Committee was formed because of the volumes of intelligence pointing to the existence of LIVE POW's still in captivity.

McCain, the "former POW" wasted NO time making headlines by alleging that most of the activists involved in POW/MIA issue were only in it for the money. He stated in front of a room full of cameras, " The people who have done these things are not zealots in a good cause. They are criminals and some of the most craven, most cynical and most despicable human beings to ever run a scam."

In two sentences McCain effectively branded nearly ALL the activist POW/MIA families and Vietnam Veteran activities as " despicable" and "criminals."

About 350,000 bikers gathered in the nation's capital to participate in the rally, which has attracted prestigious guests, including President George Bush, in the past, The Washington Times reported.

"First thing, this is about supporting America and our folks in the military, past and present. It's about love of country, love of bikes. People have a calling to be here," said Pete Ries, who has been to the event at least six times.

Money raised through raffles and other events is donated to needy veterans and their families.

"We donate our time, no one gets any compensation and 100 percent of the money we raise goes to help vets or their families," said Artie Muller, Army veteran and Rolling Thunder founder.

Honor Guard March

Military vehicles in parade

Quilt of Tears

Agent Orange Victims & Widows Support Network displays "A Quilt of Tears" showing support for the families of veterans who died during the Vietnam War.

Drum and Fife Corps

A drum and fife corps marches along the Reflecting Pool while the speaker program begins in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Women's Vietnam War Veterans Memorial

Many of the memorials in Washington, DC are decorated with wreaths for Rolling Thunder and Memorial Day.

One of the guests this year is John Amos

Best known for his roles in TV’s West Wing, Good Times, and the miniseries Roots, Amos is also a Vietnam-era honorary U.S. Coast Guard veteran and is a veteran of the N.J. National Guard. On his breaks from TV and films, he devotes his time to supporting veterans causes and to mentoring children at risk throughout the U.S. and the world.
A long-time fan of country music, in late 2007 he released his first country music CD featuring patriotic-themed songs aimed at saluting the U.S. Armed Forces. His involvement in Rolling Thunder came about through a chance encounter last November at a Veteran’s Day rally in Nashville. There, he met Bob Ousley, president of Rolling Thunder Chapter 1 Tennessee, who invited him to participate in this year’s Memorial Day events
“I spent time with Bob and his chapter members after the rally and I was blown away by their passion and commitment to the POW/MIA cause,” Amos said. “People forget that for families of troops left behind, there is no closure. Rolling Thunder makes sure that the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who put their lives on the line are never forgotten. I’m a veteran myself, so I’m only too happy to lend my name and my presence to this effort,” he added.

NEWS VIDEO for today of Rolling Thunder.....This is one not to miss and hear what Artie Muller - Rolling Thunder
National Executive Director has to osay about Nancy Pelosi in the video!!!!! God bless you Artie!

VIDEO link

Please feel free to visit my POW/MIA Tribute page there have been some updates.

........I will be adding more photos as they come in.

Some more about President Bush meeting with Rolling Thunder could be titled......heh heh

Marine One, meet the choppers of Rolling Thunder!

Note that one report said about 350,000 bikers and other reports say even a higher numebr. The main thing is this grows every year and I am so proud of this group Rolling Thunder. One day before I die I would love to go to this. It is a goal of mine.

UPDATE: More photos added



President Bush, center, walks with members of the Rolling Thunder, Sunday, May 25, 2008, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz )

President Bush was given a leather vets and cap by Rolling Thunder.

President Bush also met with some of the group's organizers, and described the parade of motorcycles — many adorned with the American flag — as "a magnificent sight. "I am just so honored, and I want to thank you and all your comrades for being patriotic and loving our country as much as you do," said Bush.

Among the motorcyclists were four Bush administration officials, all of whom on Harleys: White House chief of staff Josh Bolten (a Hog fan from way back). Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer, and Edward P. "Eddie" Lazear, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisors, who sported a leather Harley vest and a black bandanna.

Rolling Thunder Storms Into Nation’s Capital

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2008

A chain of about 750,000 motorcycles ridden by Vietnam veterans and military supporters blazed through the nation’s capital today as part of the 21st annual Rolling Thunder rally.
In addition to offering vets a chance to reconnect with their brothers-in-arms and honor fallen comrades, the ride aims to raise awareness about issues concerning prisoners of war, troops missing in action and veterans’ benefits.

President Bush this afternoon arranged for Rolling Thunder founder Artie Muller to be delivered by helicopter to the White House, where the two discussed topics at the heart of Muller’s nonprofit group.

“I am just so honored to welcome you back,” Bush told Muller at a news conference on the White House’s South Lawn after their meeting. “I want to thank you and all your comrades for being so patriotic and loving our country as much as you do.
“Our troops appreciate you, the veterans appreciate you and your president appreciates you,” added Bush, calling it a pleasure of his presidency to get to know the leaders of the motorcycle rally.

The parade circuit whizzed riders past national landmarks such as the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall, the U.S. Capitol building and the Lincoln Memorial, where group organizers held a ceremony as riders continued to speed past along nearby Constitution Avenue.

Addressing the crowd gathered at the footsteps of the Lincoln Memorial just beyond the sun-drenched reflecting pool, Muller said he urged the president to help advance legislation that will bolster the Rolling Thunder effort.

“And I just want to say, ‘Thank you very much,’ because you are America, you are the true patriots of this country, you come here year after year, put up with the rain the heat,” he told the crowd. “And you stuck by [the group’s mission], and we’re getting something done.”

Meanwhile, servicemembers past and present, plus family members and other spectators cheered riders on as the convoy roared from the Pentagon parking lot to the National Mall here ahead of tomorrow’s Memorial Day observance.

Former Army Spc. James Yorke, a veteran of the Vietnam War, said he rode here from Richmond, Va., to participate in his fourth Rolling Thunder ride as a way to connect troops with the civilians they serve.

“Americans should think about the people who gave it all,” Yorke said, referring to those fallen military members who he said should be remembered over Memorial Day. “They were asked to do a job just so we could live in this country — that’s all they were asked to do.”

Also on hand for the holiday were brothers Gary and Jeffrey Elker, who rode their hogs more than 200 miles here from Middlesex, N.J. Gary is a retired Marine corporal who enlisted after the Vietnam War. Jeffrey didn’t wear the uniform, but he said he has buddies whose names are listed on the memorial wall among the more than 58,000 killed in Vietnam.

“It’s a weekend away to honor our fallen veterans,” said Jeffrey Elker when asked to describe the meaning Rolling Thunder holds for him.

Gary Elder, on his 17th ride today, said he also makes the annual trek to show support for military veterans. He added that there’s a common thread between past and present servicemembers.

“They’re willing to sacrifice for everybody else,” he said. “They believe in honor, integrity, and what’s going on in this country, and they’re willing to fight for it; I was.”

George Leiter, a former Marine sergeant who served from 1972-76, motored from Manchester, Pa., for his fourth ride. Over this Memorial Day weekend, as both of his sons wear the Army uniform, Leiter said he hopes his fellow citizens remember the people who answered the nation’s call.

“It’s important for Americans to consider all the veterans, whichever war they were in, whether they were in a combat zone or not,” he said. “I think they’ve just got to think of their freedoms, and what they have, and how important it is to have a strong military, and to support your military.”

Posted by Wild Thing at May 25, 2008 04:27 PM


Absolutely awesome WildThing, the pics are fantastic, you GO girl!!

Posted by: TexasFred at May 25, 2008 05:10 PM

Thank you so much, this brings a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye.

Posted by: Jack at May 25, 2008 07:30 PM

You sure did a great job on this post WT. I enjoyed the videos. It was neat seeing President Bush wearing a biker vest. Artie Mueller publically berating the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi was fantastic.

Rolling Thunder has become a gigantic event and gives lots of veterans and military families an opportunity to gather once a year and remember the sacrifices of the American military.

Posted by: TomR at May 25, 2008 08:52 PM

Our Death Star II crewchief has replaced the nose art by painting over Barbara Eden (I Dream of Genie 1966) with... WILD THING! I teared up watching the Memorial Day Tribute on PBS a few hours ago... FREEDOM IS NOT FREE and didn't realize that during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, we had 20,000 U.S. Army soldiers listed as MIA...

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at May 25, 2008 11:24 PM

Texas Fred, thank you, I love what Rolling Thunder does.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 26, 2008 01:37 AM

Jack, it is such an honor to be able to post something for Memorial Day weekend.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 26, 2008 01:39 AM

Tom thank you that means a lot.

I smiled so big when I heard Artie saying that about Pelosi. applause for him for sure. And yes I lvoed that too when they gave Bush the vest and cap and he put them on right away. It made my heart smile.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 26, 2008 01:43 AM

Darth, we watched it too, it was excellent.

I didn't know that either.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 26, 2008 01:45 AM

Bravo--absolutely outstanding job.

Posted by: nunoftheabove at May 26, 2008 02:43 PM