No Wall Riding

Today, Sunday May 30, is a big day in Washington, DC. Bikers from everywhere descend on the city for an event that they call the “ride to the wall” or “Rolling Thunder.” It is held annually on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. For those blog readers not from the U.S.: that’s today!

The purpose of Rolling Thunder is to pay tribute to those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, especially those who were captured and endured being held as Prisoners of War, or who were missing in action (MIA).

Biker dudes (and dudettes) gather in the parking lot of the Pentagon, and wait… and wait… and wait… then at noon, the ride begins. Leaders of the group that organizes the event go first, followed by everyone else. The departure can (and does) take several hours. Bikers ride from the Pentagon across a bridge into the city, around the National Mall, past the U.S. Capitol building, then end up near the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, which is at Henry Bacon Drive and Constitution Avenue, near the Lincoln Memorial.

Imagine… tens of thousands of bikers on their bikes — all trying to get from one place to another and try to find a place to park. It’s crazy! I appreciate what they are doing, and honor their commitment. I’ve gone on that ride a few times. It’s fun — when you’re riding. It’s the waiting for the ride to take off that is a killer. It can involve hours and hours of standing in the full sun. Finding a place to park at the other end is very difficult too, and by the time you get there, if you get there, a lot of the ceremonial events are over. It kinda defeats the purpose of riding in the event in the first place.

Well, anyway, we’re not going on the Rolling Thunder ride this year. Not because of some likely inconveniences, but rather, for the required Spring visit to the mother-in-law. Her place in da ‘burgh needs to be redded up. (If you don’t understand those terms, don’t worry. I didn’t either. That is, not until I got into a relationship with a Pittsburgher.) So once again, I’ll be lost in neuroticisms of the M-I-L and not riding on Memorial Day weekend. Such is partnered life. You win some, you lose some.

Remember those who have died, been lost, and some who were never found — all these brave warriors gave service and commitment that is honorable, and for that reason, we should thank them and remember. Even if we may not have supported the war in which they served, the point is, they served … and some didn’t come back.

Life is short: Remember.