Organized by AMVETS (the nation’s most inclusive Congressionally chartered veterans service organization, representing 20 million veterans), the event also spotlights the national suicide epidemic that’s taking the lives of 22 veterans each day.
Blessing of the Bikes
Kicking off the weekend on Friday is a Blessing of the Bikes at the Washington National Cathedral in DC, followed by a nighttime Candlelight Vigil at the Wall of the Vietnam War Memorial, dramatically lit by thousands of free glowsticks.
Day of Prevention
Saturday’s Day of Prevention starts with a 2.2-mile morning run/walk from RFK Stadium to highlight the role of physical wellness as a key to mental health. The stadium serves as the staging ground for Saturday and Sunday programs, broken into symbolic 22-minute segments. They feature notable speakers, Gold Star families, mission-focused musical performances (often fronted by veterans) and other programs around mental wellness and suicide prevention.
The culminating Demonstration Ride begins at noon on Sunday, following a motorcycle drill team performance, live music, special presentations and more high-profile speakers. After getting inspired, the riders solemnly follow a route through the streets of DC, including major arteries such as Constitution, Independence and Pennsylvania Avenues.
Unlike more festive events, the entire weekend serves as a serious demonstration to bring awareness and accountability for POWs and MIAs left behind and for suicide prevention.