Skip to main content

Rolling Thunder Roars into Arlington

Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer season with pool openings and barbecues, but in Arlington, Memorial Day weekend also means Rolling Thunder. This iconic annual event rolls into the capital region each Memorial Day weekend.

arlington rolling thunder

The annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally includes a parade and concert that honors the recognition and protection of Prisoners of War (POWs) and those Missing in Action (MIAs). When this unique tribute to American war heroes started out in 1988, there were about 2,500 bikers who took part by protesting for full accountability for POWs. This year, as many as 1 million participants and spectators are expected to come out for this annual demonstration that starts at the Pentagon and ends at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, making it the largest one-day motorcycle event in the country.

On Sunday, May 26, thousands of riders will meet in the parking lot of the Pentagon in Arlington before hitting the highway at noon and heading across the river into nation’s capital. At this aptly named event, spectators will soon understand that the sound of thousands of engines roaring into action is a thunder like they’ve never heard before.

motorcycles in arlington

Riders gather Friday for a “Blessing of the Bikes” at the National Cathedral and a candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Visitors can also pick up pins, shirts and other event memorabilia at Thunder Alley at 22nd Street and Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. all weekend. Check out the full schedule of events.

Author: Kathleen Murphy