I have spent my whole life living just outside of Washington, DC. Very rarely do I go into the city during a holiday because it gets nuts with all the crowds. Yesterday we braved the traffic and I am so glad we did. This is what we saw.
We can literally hear Rolling Thunder from our backyard during the Memorial Day weekend, but I had never seen the riders going over the bridge near the Lincoln Memorial being saluted. It felt important & emotional.
The volume of riders, the loud hum of the bikes, it was all a reminder that they are there. They ride to represent active duty military and veterans as well as those that we lost and left behind during Vietnam. I can’t help but feel a huge sense of guilt that we have not taken care of them as we should have. And the service men and women that continue to come home to whom we don’t see and we don’t hear. They sink back into their homes & lives and we don’t HEAR them. We don’t SALUTE them.
We can’t ignore Rolling Thunder because on this weekend they make themselves heard. I have a huge sense of sadness for not listening to their quiet thunder. So, to those of you that have come home and have served know that you are deeply loved for what you have been through. Know that we are sorry for not always hearing you and fully recognizing all you’ve laid down for us.
Pam Alexander says
“Woody” (nickname because his middle name was Yearwood): PFC-E3-Army, 25th Infantry Division. DOB: March 12, 1947. Date of deployment March 11, 1969. DOD April 7, 1969. Hua Nghia, Vietnam. 22 years old and would now be 67 years old. Multiple Fragmentation Wounds. I will never forget.
Pam Alexander says
“Woody” (nickname because his middle name was Yearwood): PFC-E3-Army, 25th Infantry Division. DOB: March 12, 1947. Date of deployment March 11, 1969. DOD April 7, 1969. Hua Nghia, Vietnam. 22 years old and would now be 67 years old. Multiple Fragmentation Wounds. I will never forget the day we found out. He was, and still is, loved.
Thank you, Christen, for the reminder of what this holiday REALLY is about – and for all those who has scarified so much! Our freedom certainly is not “free”.
Meant “sacrificed” – sorry!
Betty in Arlington says
Memory eternal of my cousin, Nick,(Vietnam 1969), and hundreds of thousands who perished in wars! Thank you for your post! Good for you for taking the family to remember! As we were going to church yesterday, the beltway was closed to make way for the thousands of war vets who participated in the Rolling Thunder motorcycle brigade! Made me well up for their annual memorial they provide us in the Washington, DC area! Their engines roar in everlasting remembrance of those who served their country!
Thank you Christen! Next year we will be sure to go into D.C. Like you, I didn’t want to brave the traffic and crowds, but your post makes me sorry I haven’t. I’m afraid of traffic when our brave soldiers face so much more. See you there next year!
My Dad is a 5th generation soldier. We’ve followed him all over the country and waited for him to come home safely while serving overseas. It is a great life but not for the faint of heart. Thank you for your post. It means so much.
My brother did survive Nam but he came back broken it took yrs for him to get thru the mental stuff. He is 63 now and now has some physical problems the VA has jacked him around. When rolling thunder came thru Az just outside of Williams my husband was on the over pass with a flag. The nam boys really got a bad deal not right! We went to a memorial service today in Williams and the speaker a guy who served in Afghanistan did talk about those Vietnam vets and the raw deal they got I was soooooo glad that he mentioned that. Thank you so much for this so timely post.
My brother is also a Vietnam veteran. I just want to say that I truly appreciate these kind words you have shared with us. He along with thousands of others have been treated unfairly and, yes, forgotten in a sense. They were so brave and we owe them a debt, especially the ones who gave their lives for us. Thank you for noticing them and your respect for them.