The last ride?
Washington (AFP) – More than 100,000 flag-bearing bikers, many of them Vietnam veterans, throttled their engines Sunday for the annual “Rolling Thunder” ride through the capital as President Donald Trump vowed to keep the Memorial Day spectacle alive.
Spectators lined the route from the Pentagon to the National Mall to watch the growling parade of choppers, a leather-clad, red-white-and-blue tribute to American soldiers missing in the Vietnam War.
It had been billed as the last national Rolling Thunder ride by its organizers, but Trump, who loves a parade, appeared to offer a reprieve.
“The Great Patriots of Rolling Thunder WILL be coming back to Washington, D.C. next year, & hopefully for many years to come. It is where they want to be, & where they should be,” Trump tweeted from Japan.
The huge motorcycle rally began in 1988 with fewer than 3,000 participants under the motto “We will never forget.” The goal was to press for an accounting of those missing in Vietnam.
Organizers had cited difficult relations with the Pentagon — where riders line up to begin the rally — over logistics and costs, in announcing that this year would mark the last national rally.
“As always, the Pentagon is charging us with an outrageous bill for their services,” the group’s national president Joe Bean said in a letter to members.
Another letter co-signed by Bean said costs of staging the event had soared to more than $200,000.
“The organization will continue to bring awareness to the public, in years to come, with regional demonstrations,” organizers said in a statement on their website.
Trump, who was on an official visit to Japan, offered his support.
“Can’t believe that Rolling Thunder would be given a hard time with permits in Washington, D.C. They are great Patriots who I have gotten to know and see in action. They love our Country and love our Flag. If I can help, I will!” he said.
It’s the oldest, saddest story in America That Was: enterprising private citizens get together to create something from nothing using their own effort and ingenuity, without seeking government support or direction. Naturally, government gets busy strangling their brainchild with regulations, fees, red tape, and general harrassment. And another unique part of the once-vivid American portrait is erased forever, rendering the whole thing that much more lifeless, grey, and boring.
I’ll just say this: if Rolling Thunder annoys sniveling pussyfart Garrison Keiller this badly, then I’m all for the damned thing, and think a way should be found for it to continue for that reason alone.