Rolling Thunder ride silenced in D.C. after 2019

It has been rolling through our nation's capital, but the motorcycle ride called Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom will come to an end after Memorial Day weekend.

The final national ride, which is designed to make people remember prisoners of war and those missing in action, is scheduled for Sunday, WTOP reported.

According to Rolling Thunder organizers, there are more than 86,000 military men and women still unaccounted for.

That breaks down to:

  • WWI - 4,420
  • WWII - 72,719
  • Korea - 7,661
  • Vietnam - 1,589
  • Cold War - 126
  • Iraq/Other - 6

Ride organizers cite costs and logistics for the reason the ride is ending this year, WUSA reported.

They also said they’re tired of being harassed.

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"A lot of people are fed up with D.C. It's not only me. We're tired of the harassment," Rolling Thunder Inc.'s executive director Sgt. Artie Muller told WTOP.

He said the ride is mismanaged every year by Pentagon officials and access was denied to parking lots after organizers paid "exorbitant permit fees," to be allowed to use the Pentagon property to stage. It cost, according to Muller, $200,000 to hold the ride in 2018, WTOP reported.

Pentagon officials deny there were issues other than expected delays into the facility.

"During a review after last year's event, we were unable to identify any instances when groups were denied access to the Pentagon Reservation," Pentagon spokeswoman Sue Gough told WTOP via a statement.

Muller also admits that those riding are getting older and can’t come into D.C. for the ride.

But like past years, the ride will start at the Pentagon and ride through the streets of Washington, D.C. to the National Mall, and organizers hope that it is the biggest Rolling Thunder in the 31-year history of the ride, WUSA reported.

Rolling Thunder XXXII will include a “Blessing of the Bikes” at the National Cathedral, a candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The ride starts at noon from the Pentagon, with speakers starting at 1:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Memorial.

Local versions of Rolling Thunder are still expected to continue.

"We're tired of the aggravation there. For 2020, our chapters are going to do demonstrations throughout the country, nationwide in their states," Muller told WTOP.

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