From archive.defense.gov: Rolling Thunder Roars Through Nations
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Every Memorial Day weekend, thousands of Rolling Thunder members from Massachusetts and all over the country meet in Washington, DC for their annual Ride For Freedom.
The roar of the Harley-Davidsons past the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, WWII and Vietnam Veterans Memorials, and National Mall is a powerful reminder of the thousands of American POW and MIA service members who never made it home.
And for me, it's also a reminder of just how much one person can do to fight for something they believe in.
One of the first people who came to see me in Washington after I got elected to the Senate was a Boston locksmith named Joe, who was the former President of the Massachusetts chapter of Rolling Thunder. Joe had an idea to place an honorary chair on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol that would remain empty -- a constant reminder of America's prisoners of war and service members who remain missing.
Joe and countless other people in Massachusetts and across the country really led the fight to pass this bill. Massachusetts Rolling Thunder teamed up with Rolling Thunder National, the National League of POW/MIA Families, and the National Alliance of Families for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen. They all worked their tails off with phone calls, letters, and emails, and showed up to town halls and meetings -- all to earn bipartisan support for the bill.
Last November, I stood at a ceremony with Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan -- and we unveiled the chair in the Capitol's Emancipation Hall. Every visitor to the Capitol now has an opportunity to reflect on those brave service members who never made it home.
All three of my big brothers served in the military. My oldest brother was career military and flew 288 combat missions in Vietnam. They all made it home safely, and for that, I'm eternally grateful.
But many service members haven't yet made it home -- and some will never make it home. As Joe told me in my office in 2013: our country owes those service members and our military families a debt that can never be repaid.
No matter how you honor Memorial Day -- in Washington, DC with Rolling Thunder, on Boston Common with the 37,000 flags planted to honor our fallen heroes, or in your community -- I hope you have a meaningful day.