To borrow a line from Mark Twain, reports of the death of Rolling Thunder are greatly exaggerated.
Rolling Thunder is the annual event started in 1988 when hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists roll into Washington, D.C., on Memorial Day, driving from the Pentagon to the Capitol, right down the city’s main drag, Constitution Avenue. Many bikers also stop off at the Vietnam War Memorial, where they pay tribute to their brothers killed in action or taken prisoner.
But in the days leading up to this year’s event, there were reports that this would be the final year. Organizers said the price tag had just grown too high, with 2018’s ride costing about $200,000.
Then President Trump got involved.
Trump pledged on Saturday to help the organization continue the 30-year tradition. “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!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
But Rolling Thunder President Joe Bean told CNN on Sunday that the group was still planning to have make this year’s ride their last. “This is our final ride in Washington, DC. 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,” Bean said.
Then on Monday, Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America, announced on “Fox and Friends” that her organization would be donating $200,000 to Rolling Thunder to keep the ride alive.
“I just want you to know how much we appreciate your mission. Remembering is too important to forget,” she said.
Trump was keeping abreast of developments and praised organizers and officials for working it all out.
“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!” Trump wrote on Twitter during a trip to Japan.