The Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride, now known as Rolling to Remember, is back on! The ride has traditionally begun at the Pentagon parking lot, but the permit was supposedly denied because of the coronavirus. Controversy surrounded the decision to deny a permit:
The group criticized the Pentagon’s slow decision-making process because the application was submitted last July. The Pentagon slow-walked a decision until they were pressured to respond to the request:
“The biggest disappointment in the Pentagon’s denial was that AMVETS was ignored for months as its professional staff in Washington requested numerous times an opportunity to hear the Defense Department’s concerns and present a safety plan.” – Jan Brown, the national commander of AMVETS.
This left the AMVETS without a meeting spot just weeks before tens of thousands of motorcyclists are scheduled to participate in the traditional event. The ride is meant to honor the service members missing in action or being held as prisoners of wars, as well as raise awareness about veteran suicide.
New organizers for the huge motorcycle ride through D.C. have announced it will start at RFK Stadium in northeast Washington, D.C., on Memorial Day weekend. This was after the Defense Department denied the group’s request to kick off the event at the Pentagon. A spokesperson explained how difficult it has been to switch gears and change locations for the motorcycle ride that attracts thousands each year:
“It has been incredibly difficult — well beyond anything any of us, I think, could’ve comprehended… We are now putting together what would normally take a year; we’re getting it together in about two weeks.”
Military.com reports that bikers registered to participate in the AMVETS Rolling to Remember ride can gather in the Washington Football Team’s former stadium parking lot at 7 a.m. May 30, the group announced this week.
The Rolling to Remember website says riders will now gather in Lot 8 of the RFK Stadium parking lot. Motorcyclists are encouraged to follow distancing guidance due to the pandemic by leaving space between rows of bikes.
RFK Stadium is about 2 miles east of the U.S. Capitol.