WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thousands of motorcycle riders from across the country are gathering in Washington, D.C. this Memorial Day weekend for the 29th annual Rolling Thunder Run.
"It makes me cry. It’s humbling and it’s sad, but it’s beautiful that so many people come to pay our respects and remember to honor our fallen heroes,” said Cynders Hunsicker, who said she served in the US Army Veteran between 1982-1998.
The four day event began on Friday night with a candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The run itself takes place on Sunday.
Riders will gather in the Pentagon parking lots starting at 7 a.m. and depart from the North Pentagon parking lot at noon. As a result, the Metropolitan Police Department will close the following roads between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.:
- Memorial Bridge
- Constitution Avenue, NW from 23rd Street, NW to 3rd Street, NW
- 3rd Street, SW from Constitution Avenue, NW to Independence Avenue, SW
- Maryland Avenue, SW from 3rd Street, SW to Independence Avenue, SW
- Independence Avenue, SW from 3rd Street, SW to West Potomac Park, SW
On Saturday, many of those in town came to pay respects to the people whose names are on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Keeton Johnston from Junction, TX, a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam between 1971-72, comes every year to see the name of Marvin Hawthorne. Hawthorne was a year older than Johnston and the two went to high school together. Johnston said Hawthorne was a marine who died in Vietnam.
"I come down here at nighttime. I visit with him. I bust knuckles with him. And I tell him, I’ll be back next year,” said Johnston.
Johnston also took part in “Run for the Wall”, a event where motorcycle riders travel across the country to Washington, D.C. carrying information packets about veterans who are still missing in action. They leave those packets at the wall.
“We still have over 1,600 Vietnam vets that still need to come home,” said Johnston. “And there’s even more than that in the Korean War. We still have guys back in World War II that still need to come home. That’s what the 'Run for the Wall’ is for. It’s to remind out government that we still need to bring those people home."