Riders can complete a solo 22-mile ride to honor missing servicemembers and maintain distance during COVID-19.
"Rolling to Remember," the popular motorcycle rally formerly known as Rolling Thunder, is still on this Memorial Day—though from a distance.
The annual motorcycle ride honoring missing military service members will be held remotely in response to the unfolding coronavirus pandemic. In lieu of the mass demonstration typically held in D.C.'s capital, organization AMVETS is hosting a Remember to Ride challenge, which allows riders to complete a solo 22-mile ride in their community. Participants can use the REVER app to document their trek.
Let your friends and family know about your Memorial Day weekend plans: riding 22 miles for our POW/MIAs and veterans who take their lives.
Go to https://t.co/EfDhwofLa4 and search 'Rolling To Remember' to find all available frames for your Memorial Day weekend prep. pic.twitter.com/Rl106HsbA0
— AMVETS (@AMVETSHQ) May 18, 2020
The event, previously called "Rolling Thunder," began as a way to honor the 82,000 military veterans and POWs who've gone missing since the second world war. After a 32-year run, it ended in 2019 before AMVETS brought it back and renamed it Rolling to Remember. Mental health—specifically the troubling epidemic of suicide—is the focus of this year's event in particular, as 22 vets die by suicide every day across the U.S. The renewed event had been scheduled from May 22–24 before its cancellation due to safety concerns amid COVID-19.
In addition to the ride itself, the organization has also scheduled events through the weekend that participants can enjoy from their computers. The festivities start Friday evening with a vigil and display of wreaths at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. On Saturday, May 23, a program about veterans' issues will air on Facebook Live with appearances from military vets and families, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilke, and music by Rascal Flats. The event will conclude Sunday with a patriotic ceremony hosted at AMVETS Headquarters, before kicking off the ride at 12 p.m. ET.
While previous occasions have been marked by grandiose displays and ceremonies in the capital, its spirit comes from communities coming together to support the cause. The organization urges people nationwide to get involved.
"By tracking our participation, in our local communities we are hoping to show Congress that this is not just an issue that happens in Washington, D.C., on one day, but rather, there is support across the country."
The REVER app can be downloaded from Google Play or Apple's App Store, and for those unable to participate, donations are highly encouraged. Citizens can also sign a petition demanding action for fallen members, which will be sent to Congress. You can register here.
**All photos courtesy of Rolling To Remember's Facebook
Are you participating remotely in Rolling to Remember this year? Have you attended the event before? Tell us about it in the comments!