Image: Thousands of members of "Rolling Thunder" joined the 22nd annual parade Friday in northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Arlington, Va.—The rumble of America’s warrior class shakes our capital city as thousands of veterans ride into town on motorcycles to observe Memorial Day, their leaders meeting with the president.
Downtown, middle-aged men and women—some with younger girlfriends and wives—park their Harley Davidson hogs in neat rows down the street, thronging bars and restaurants as longtime residents hit the beaches north and south. On Friday, veterans of foreign wars queue at the Pentagon for the 22nd annual “Rolling Thunder” motorcycle parade across Memorial Bridge into Washington, D.C., observing their fallen and wounded brethren.
Years ago on Memorial Day, I visited Arlington National Cemetery with a girlfriend to mourn her late grandfather, a native of East Rutherford, N.J., who’d served valiantly in the Pacific during World War II.
“He told me once he shot four Japs on an island. One was taking a piss.”
“God bless him,” I said.
“Course, that was ’87.”
Following are some of the veterans and their stories, in their own words.
Raymond, Helicopter Pilot
I served three tours in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot. I’d come in and lay down a layer of thick, black smoke to allow other pilots to land in the battle zone for troop extractions and to replenish supplies. I took lots of small arms fire but was never shot down.
Thomas, Public Affairs Officer and Golf Enthusiast
War is hell. There were two bunkers on either side of the hole on a par-five 14th. I had bogeyed and eagled on two holes previously but was suddenly overcome by a case of the nerves. I was stroking the ball well but just couldn’t take it to the hole. You talk about sand traps....
Donald, Infantryman and Closeted Homosexual
One of our bunk mates had a waitress every Saturday night—a different one. He was a big, strapping handsome guy. But three or four of us would stay behind and take showers together. We’d have a sentry standing outside to sound the alarm if the sergeant approached—then we’d act like nothing was going on. Some nights, I’d take two or three cocks at a time.
Reginald, Electrical Engineer and Blues Musician
Serving in Southeast Asia motivated me greatly to continue my blues career. Specifically, I was in love with Delta Blues. After I had my stroke, I met some guys at the VA who convinced me to get the band back together and I made some calls. What instrument do I play? My voice is my instrument. But there’s one thing you have to understand about me, son. I don’t sing the blues. I cry the blues.
Posted by M@ at 5:09 PM