Another Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom has come to a close. This year’s events were held from May 22-24. Rolling Thunder, Inc. is a non-profit organization and everyone donates his or her time because they believe in the POW/MIA issue. I’m continually impressed by the commitment of Rolling Thunder members and I wanted to highlight some of RT’s accomplishments and the ongoing work they do. The following information is on their website, but I’ve summarized here:
- Funds donated to Rolling Thunder, Inc. are used for veterans, active duty military and their families in need of help. No officers of Rolling Thunder® Charities, Inc. receive compensation; we all donate our time.
- Rolling Thunder® Charities, Inc. spends thousands of dollars each year in financial aid, food, clothing, and other essentials to veterans, homeless veterans, and veterans’ families in need, women’s crisis centers, and toys for children.
- In 2005, Rolling Thunder®, Inc. united with the National Alliance of POW/MIA Families to petition the U.S. Government to use the designation “Prisoner of War/Missing in Action” (POW/MIA) – a designation recognized by the Geneva Conventions – not “Missing/Captured”.
- Rolling Thunder regularly donates POW/MIA flags to local area schools, youth groups, non-profit organizations, special interest groups, and organizes flag-raising ceremonies.
- Rolling Thunder®, Inc. sponsors search missions into Southeast Asia for POW/MIAs and the remains of those killed in action. ·
- Thousands of hours are logged in by Rolling Thunder®, Inc. members at local VA hospitals nationwide. Members visit and provide moral support to nursing home veterans and patients suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- Rolling Thunder®, Inc. helped facilitate the publishing of a POW/MIA U.S. postage stamp through the U.S. Postal Service that displayed dog tags with the declaration – “POW & MIA – NEVER FORGOTTEN”
- Rolling Thunder®, Inc. has advocated and/or co-authored legislation to improve the POW/MIA issue, veterans’ benefits, concerns and interests as follows:
- House Resolution 111. Since 2007 we continue to lobby Congress to establish a Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. The Committee would conduct a full investigation of all unresolved matters relating to any United States POW/MIAs unaccounted for from the Iraqi War, Afghanistan, Gulf War, Vietnam War, the Korean War, Cold War and WWII.
- Respect for Fallen Heroes Act of 2006 (H.R. 5037) (Bill Summary)(PUBLIC LAW 109-228)
- Legislation to prohibit certain demonstrations at cemeteries under the control of the National Cemetery Administration at Arlington National Cemetery and for other purposes. On May 29, 2006 the bill was signed by the President.
- Veterans’ Housing Opportunity & Benefits Improvement Act of 2006 (S.1235)
- Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006
- Veteran-Owned Small Business Promotion Act of 2005 (H.R. 3082) (Bill Summary)
- Legislation to amend title 38, United States Code, to require that nine percent of procurement contracts entered into by the Department of Veterans Affairs be awarded to small business concerns owned by veterans, and for other purposes. Passed House on July 24, 2006 by unanimous voice.
- Persian Gulf War POW/MIA Accountability Act of 2002 (S.1339). The necessity of this legislation is demonstrated by the case of Jessica Lynch and six other POWs returned alive. SSgt. Matt Maupin (Army) captured 4/9/04, remains found, identified and returned 3/30/08, as well as Pfc. Byron W. Fouty (Army) and Sgt. Alex R. Jimenez (Army), both captured 5/12/07 remains found, identified and returned 07/10/08.
- Displaying of the POW/MIA Flag over Federal Buildings and Military Facilities. Rolling Thunder®, Inc. was highly instrumental in passing legislation requiring that Federal buildings, all Post Offices, the Vietnam and Korean Memorials in Washington, D.C. and military facilities fly the POW/MIA flag on all six National holidays.
- Bring Them Home Alive Act of 2000
- Missing Service Personnel Act of 1997. Rolling Thunder®, Inc. has worked tirelessly on this bill that would guarantee missing servicemen or women could not be arbitrarily “killed on paper” by the U.S. government without credible proof of death. The bill was originally sponsored by Senator Campbell in 1993. Rolling Thunder’s efforts helped facilitate passing of a majority of the resolutions and efforts continue to restore the law as it was originally written.
To read even more about Rolling Thunder and the organizations’ work, visit their website at http://www.rollingthunder1.com/ .
For those who think Rolling Thunder is a huge rally of bikers who are advocating for a losing battle, think again. This organization has accomplished much in the past 28 years. It matters not how many obstacles stand in the way, because bikers will continue the journey to D.C. every year at the end of May.