It was a hot day, but that didn’t spoil the purpose of the long wait till 1.2 million motorcycles rolled out of the North and South Parking Lots of The Pentagon to pay respect to the men and women that give us our freedom every day.
On May 27, 2012 Jeff Yalden, Activities and Membership Officer, Road Captain, and former United States Marine led 8 bikers to Washington DC to ride in Rolling Thunder. The ride was amazing.
On Saturday, May 26, 2012 we met John Murphy, the Director of Cumberland County HOG Chapter, out of Patriot Harley Davidson and John presented us with 9 special passes for us to ride in the early part of the Police led parade from the dealership to The Pentagon.
We awoke on Sunday morning at 4:15 am to make sure we were at the Patriot Harley Davidson by 7am to make sure we got a good parking spot. We arrived on time and we were ready. At 9:00 am we were within the first 100 motorcycles out of the some 6,000 motorcycles that left the dealership. It was amazing to watch the thousands of supporters lining the streets waving and thanking the bikers for their support and service. You could not help but shed a tear or two.
Then, at 9:30 am we arrived the South parking lot of The Pentagon and had to wait till it was our turn. The north parking lot unloads first starting at 12:00 noon. We were there to watch the beginning. Then, at 3:40 pm we finally departed the south parking lot and made our way through the parade. What an incredible experience.
It was hot, but the fire trucks had water spraying to cool us down and you better believe, we made sure we showered in that cool water. Within minutes, we were dry and again and right back into the water. Yeah, it was hot, long, and a grueling battle, but nothing dampened the spirits as to why we wanted to wait. We wanted to pay respect to our Veterans and Service Members of today.
Ultimately, it was my goal to see Staff Sergeant Chambers. He is the Marine that comes all the way from California on leave and his own personal time to stand and salute the Bikers for their support to the Veterans. Seeing Staff Sergeant Chambers was the most amazing part of my trip. Here is a Marine that stands in his dress blues for 5-7 hours saluting at full attention and doesn’t move. Amazing!
The question people have been asking me, “Would you do it again?” Absolutely I would! I felt honored and proud to help pay respect and support of my military. I witnessed men and women of all different ages shed tears, hug, embrace our soldiers. I met two young men who had nearly lost their lives, but they were there with prosthetic legs sitting in their wheel chairs thanking us for being there for them. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.
Semper Fi to all branches of the Armed Service. Thank you for the work you do every day and for the freedom I never take for granted.