Wreaths Across America generously pledged $200,000 toward continuing Rolling Thunder's Memorial Day weekend tradition. And President Trump has offered his support and assistance as well. Is it enough to keep the annual D.C. ride going?
Tens of thousands of motorcyclists convened on Washington, D.C., this past weekend as part of Rolling Thunder's annual Ride for Freedom event, which honors and remembers the 86,000+ American servicemen who are still accounted for following their military service. This was the 32nd year for the popular motorcycle rally, and according to organizers who have run into massive expenses and continual scheduling and permit obstacles with the Pentagon, it was the last.
But then President Trump tweeted twice over the weekend about the ride's importance and how he would help Rolling Thunder overcome whatever issues that he could.
The Great Patriots of Rolling Thunder WILL be coming back to Washington, D.C. next year, & hopefully for many years to come. It is where they want to be, & where they should be. Have a wonderful time today. Thank you to our great men & women of the Pentagon for working it out!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2019
Can’t believe that Rolling Thunder would be given a hard time with permits in Washington, D.C. They are great Patriots who I have gotten to know and see in action. They love our Country and love our Flag. If I can help, I will!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2019
Then, Rolling Thunder founder and executive director Artie Muller appeared on Fox & Friends on Monday, alongside Karen Worcester, the executive director for Wreaths Across America, who pledged $200,000 toward keeping the event going.
"I just want you to know how much we appreciate your mission," Worcester told Muller. "Remembering is too important to forget."
Problem solved, yes? With $200,000 pledged and the president himself promising assistance to overcome the logistics, a 2020 run in D.C. is almost guaranteed, right?
Here's what organizers have to say:
According to Nancy Regg, the media chairperson for Rolling Thunder,
"It's time for a change ... We appreciate absolutely the president tweeting about us and the fact that he wants to help us, but after this year, we will be going regionally ... We will give people the chance who have never come to Washington, D.C."
"We're going nationwide...we have 90 chapters around the country right now, we have a few others forming and for 2020, we're going to do demonstrations on Memorial Day weekend, same day, same time as we've done it for 32 years here," Muller said. "We're doing it in the West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, up north, down south."
"Several people have come forward and offered the money for us to do it," Regg added. "But at this point, at this moment, this was our last demonstration in D.C. We have 364 days to change that."
"This is our final ride in Washington, D.C.," Rolling Thunder President Joe Bean told CNN on Sunday, before the Wreaths Across America donation. "Until we can get into the White House and talk to President Trump and see what he can do for us – this is our final ride in Washington."
Hmmm. Seems like a bit of a mixed bag.
Never say never.