Rolling Thunder Run Mission
The Rolling Thunder Run mission is to educate, facilitate, and never forget by means of a demonstration for service members that were abandoned after the Vietnam War. Rolling Thunder has also evolved into a display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.
First Amendment Demonstration Run
The Rolling Thunder First Amendment Demonstration Run is an annual ride and gathering that first started in 1988. Riders from around the nation, and even around the world rally in the Pentagon parking lots and begin the run through the streets of Washington, D.C. Afterward, it is an opportunity to meet old and new friends, pay respect at the memorials and participate in the Memorial Day events.
Rolling Thunder Run Legislation
Our mission also includes legislative efforts. Rolling Thunder strives to affect national policy in a way that will assist POW/MIA’s. We wrote, got introduced and passed, the Missing Service Personnel Act of 1993.
Brief History of Rolling Thunder Run and its Mission
Rolling Thunder and its mission began as a demonstration following the era of the Vietnam War, which was a difficult time in our history. Many of America’s military were killed or missing in action (MIA) and their remains were not being returned home or respectfully buried. There were also reports of live prisoners of war (POW) who were left behind when the war ended. In 1987, Vietnam veteran Ray Manzo, bothered by these accounts, came to DC with his idea and enlisted the help of fellow veterans Holland, Sides, and Sampley, to organize a motorcycle demonstration to bring attention to the POW/MIA situation. Choosing Memorial Day weekend for the event, they envisioned the arrival of the motorcycles coming across the Memorial Bridge, and thought it would sound like “Rolling Thunder”. The first Run in 1988, had roughly 2500 motorcycles and riders demanding that the U.S. government account for all POW/MIA’s; it continues to grow every year, becoming the world’s largest single-day motorcycle event. Now with over a million riders and spectators combined, Rolling Thunder has evolved into an emotional display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.