WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - The time has almost come for the final Rolling Thunder 'Ride for Freedom' Memorial Day motorcycle ride through Washington, D.C.
The ride, which began with a few thousand in 1988, has grown to include over 500,000 motorcyclists who ride through the nation’s capital to honor military members who are missing in action or prisoners of war.
In December of last year, Vice President Pete Zaleski cited cost as the major factor for making this year's May 26 rally its last scheduled ride. He noted that it costs $200,000 to hold the event, with the majority of expenses being spent on security, porta-potties, and cleanup. He said coordinating with the Pentagon also increases the cost.
Zaleski told us in December that regional chapters will still hold Rolling Thunder rides, but the national one will no longer meet in D.C.
Here is the schedule of events for the 2019 Rolling Thunder XXXII:
(info from RollingThunderRun.com)
Friday, May 24th
5 PM - Washington National Cathedral - 'Blessing of the Bikes'
9 PM - Candle Light Vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Saturday, May 25th
9 AM- 9 PM Thunder Alley The official vendor site for Rolling Thunder XXXII is on 22nd Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest. Official Rolling Thunder patches, pins and T-shirts are on sale in Thunder Alley, along with food and biker related goods.
Sunday, May 26th
6 AM - Reveille - Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Wake-up call for all riders taking part in the Rolling Thunder XXXII First Amendment Demonstration Run. Bikers rally in the North and South Pentagon parking lots at 7 AM for a noon departure.
9 AM - Thunder Alley Opens: Location: 22nd and Constitution Ave NW
12 PM - Rolling Thunder XXXII First Amendment Demonstration Run
First Amendment Demonstration Run - Bikes leave the North Pentagon parking lot to begin their run through the Mall area. After the run, police will direct riders to West Potomac Park, where they will pay tribute to their fallen brothers and sisters.
1:30 PM - Rolling Thunder Speakers Program (Lincoln Memorial)
3 PM - Musical tribute to Veterans - TBA
8 PM - Memorial Day Concert - at the Capitol.
Monday, May 27th - Memorial Day
9 AM - 5 PM - Thunder Alley is Open at 22nd and Constitution Ave
9 AM - WWII Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony
11 AM - Wreath Laying Ceremony - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery.
1 PM - Vietnam Veterans Wreath laying ceremony
2 PM - Annual Memorial Day Observance at Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Honoring the fallen service men and women of the Vietnam War.
2 PM - National Memorial Day Parade - Marching bands and veterans' units from all 50 states. Begins at the corner of Constitution Avenue and Seventh Street Northwest.
3 PM - National Moment of Remembrance