If you were anywhere near Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, D.C on Sunday, you were probably in awe.
That’s because, according to the Washington Examiner, a staggering 50,000 motorcycle riding U.S. military veterans, decked out in American flags and patriotic apparel, converged on the area for an event known as “Rolling to Remember,” which is a tribute not only to those who went missing in action but as a method to raise awareness about veterans’ mental health issues.
The patriotic ride was hosted by American Veterans (AMVETS), who rode from the stadium to Lincoln Memorial and then passed the U.S Capitol building. Many of the members have been involved in the event for decades.
There’s a special emphasis on the alarming rate of veteran suicide, which reportedly claims the lives of an average of 22 veterans per day.
Sawyer Hendrickson, the 12-year-old founder of the pro-veteran nonprofit group Miss Sawyer’s Kids with a Cause, reminded those in attendance of that daunting figure and stressed the true meaning and importance of why America has a holiday known as Memorial Day.
“We are a nation of liberty and freedom, and we can not let the sacrifices of our heroes be forgotten,” Hendrickson said.
Participants in the Rolling to Remember motorcycle ride on May 30, 2021. The event is intended to remember prisoners of war and service members still listed as missing in action, as well as to call attention to the veteran suicide crisis.
(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes) pic.twitter.com/ldm2uG3HLJ
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) May 30, 2021
Rider Thomas Williams, who served 26 years in the U.S Navy, stressed that Americans need to learn how and why our nation is the freest country in the world, telling the Examiner, “Start learning your history and how this country was made and [about] being free. It took our veterans to keep it this way.”
The way the riders in attendance remembered the fallen and the true meaning of Memorial Day was in stark contrast to the White House, with Vice President Kamala Harris facing tremendous backlash for tweeting “Enjoy the long weekend.”