Members of the motorcycle club Rolling Thunder will hold their annual Memorial Day weekend ride in Washington, D.C. for the last time this year between May 24 and 27.
With respect to the decision of ending the 32-year-old “Ride for Freedom” event, the group cited lack of funding and cooperation it expected from the Pentagon and law enforcement agencies.
As part of its tradition, Rolling Thunder has organized many Memorial Day rides in the past to honor veterans, servicemembers and prisoners of war.
“We had so many problems in the last two or three years with the [Pentagon Police] and the parking facilities after we leave the Pentagon parking lot,” Rolling Thunder, Inc. board member Gus Dante said last December in an interview with WTOP.
We're less than two weeks out? Are you ready? pic.twitter.com/pRNSmXTXQG
— Rolling Thunder DC (@RTWashDC) May 13, 2019
It costs the group $60,000 to rent the Pentagon parking lot alone, Dante explained, calling financial issues one of the main reasons, as they collect money to support veterans, troops and their families at the same time.
Following this year’s run, the group will only hold rallies in local areas in various states, according to Dante.
You can check out the detailed program from May 24-27 on Rolling Thunder’s website.
The group, which states that its mission began as a demonstration following the era of the Vietnam War, has aimed to bring attention to U.S. soldiers killed or missing in action (MIA) and prisoners of war (POW) since 1988. Having started with 2,500 motorcycles and riders, the group’s Memorial Day event reached over a million riders and spectators together as “an emotional display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.”