For the 33rd consecutive year, a massive motorcycle run took place in the nation’s capital over Memorial Day Weekend to raise awareness of the plight of U.S. prisoners of war and the 82,000 service members still missing in action and address the national suicide epidemic taking the lives of more than 20 military veterans a day.
Upon learning learning late in 2018 that the previous pro-veteran motorcycle demonstration taking place in D.C. Memorial Day weekend would no longer continue, AMVETS quickly began working to provide an outlet for patriots and veteran supporters to be heard.
At the press conference, intentionally coinciding with National POW-MIA Recognition Day and National Suicide Prevention Month, AMVETS leaders announced they called the 2020 event the “Rolling to Remember” Demonstration Run.
In addition to demanding accountability from the government for service members missing in action, AMVETS announced the 2020 demonstration will also focus on the veterans suicide epidemic.
“This will not be a party. It is a serious demonstration to bring awareness and accountability for POWs and MIAs left behind and suicide prevention,” AMVETS National Executive Director Joe Chenelly said. “Millions of motorcycle-riding patriots from all walks of life, from every corner of the United States, and even from other countries, have spent their Memorial Day weekends for the past three-plus decades in our nation’s capital because they want to make a real difference. This event will ensure those who take part are making a difference.”
“This collaborative effort will ensure these patriots are able to make a meaningful impact on veterans advocacy, have a dedicated route on which to ride together, safe places to park at the National Mall and to continue a renowned tradition, reviving awareness for prisoners of war and those missing in action, as well as the national veteran suicide crisis, where an average of 22 veterans take their lives daily,” Brown said.
Commander Brown also mentioned that AMVETS will publish an up-to-date list showing which lawmakers are displaying the POW-MIA flag outside their offices on Capitol Hill. AMVETS expects the list to be finalized and available at amvets.org by this Veterans Day.
“The number of offices displaying the POW-MIA flag has dropped from nearly all to just about half over the past 10 years,” said Brown. “That’s unacceptable. Perhaps they didn’t realize how meaningful and purposeful it is to display that flag. I hope that by the time ‘Rolling To Remember’ is upon us, 100 percent of the offices will have it up, properly.”
Although COVID restrictions kept tens of thousands of supporters from converging on D.C. last Memorial Day, Rolling to Remember conducted the ride locally with a sizable group of motorcyclist and countless of unassociated riders who chose to be in our nation’s capital anyway.
Rolling to Remember also hosted a nationwide challenge through a partner GPS-navigation app that allowed riders to join the challenge from the app, log their hours, and track the progress of other riders taking the challenge. Throughout the day the app grew this challenges being accepted across the country.
September 18 (POW/MIA Recognition Day) of this year, Rolling to Remember participated in a wreath laying ceremony with Rolling Thunder’s Washington D.C. chapter at the Vietnam Wall, where we announced that in some form or fashion Rolling to Remember would take place again in May of 2021. We are maintaining close lines of communications with all appropriate entities to ensure that the demonstration ride will take place safely and that all necessary COVID requirements are followed.
“I’m happy to be able to tell you that we’re going to have this event, one way or another, here in Washington D.C.,” said Chenelly. “It’s too important not to speak up loudly, not just nationwide but especially in Washington D.C. We hope to see you here.”
To find our more about Rolling to Remember, register to ride, or donate, please visit the official ride website.