Sunday, May 25, 2008
Ride to the Wall
This morning Jack, Jeanine and I drove to the Vienna Metro stop and took the subway to get to downtown D.C. to watch The Rolling Thunder Ride to the Wall. We decided to get off the metro close to the U.S. Capitol Building and the Native American Museum. This turned out to be an excellent idea because we had enough time to take in the new National Garden which is three acres of flowers and ponds near the existing U.S. Botanical Garden and to have a light picnic on the lawn near Third Street S.W. (I'll post photos of the gardens tomorrow.)
The Rolling Thunder Riders gathered at the Pentagon parking lot and then rode together in procession across Arlington Memorial Bridge and into D.C. The riders motored east on Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Capitol, then turned onto Third Street to head back west on Independence Avenue to parking near the Lincoln Memorial. There was going to be a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial at 1:30 P.M. The first string of riders left the Pentagon parking lot at noon and reached our location on Third Street near the capitol at 12:15 P.M. The line of riders went on and on and on and on to infinity it seemed. We could hear them before we could see any of them. The sound of all the motorcyclists revving up their engines really does sound like rolling thunder before a spring storm. We stood and watched till l:00 P.M. and the procession of riders passing us still had not ended when we left. Of course, we brought our cameras and took lots of photos. Some I will post here.
There were motorcycles of every color, make and design. Many riders had flags attached to the back such as the American flag, the black POW-MIA flag, military flags and personal flags with photos. We saw a large contingent of Canadian cyclists flying their red maple leaf flag.We saw some old Indian motorcycles with fringes and we saw some three wheel motorcycles that looked like large tricycles. One fellow had attached the fins of a '57 Chevy Bel Air to his motorcycle! Over 60 percent of the riders looked liked senior citizens with their grey hair and beards. There were a few young drivers and a few women cyclists One cyclist pulled a bamboo style cage on an attached flatbed. The cage was about the size of a dog cage for a Labrador dog. And in the cage was a very old man kneeling with his hands behind his back some of the time. Can you imagine a senior citizen kneeling like this for close to two hours? Later in the procession there was an empty cage with a sign attached that read:
RESERVED FOR HANOI JANE!
Click on photos to read the signs and to see the older veteran with the long grey beard in the cage.
Just listed to our local NBC Evening News and they reported that some 750,00 veterans participated today in this event. They also reported that President Bush greeted the heads of Rolling Thunder at the White House this morning. Apparently the Rolling Thunder leaders presented President Bush with a Rolling Thunder vest. I think maybe Bush flew over the crowd in the presidential helicopter because there were two copters flying very low over the capitol grounds.