[Wikimedia commons image by Christiano Del Riccio of the Rolling Thunder ride crossing the Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC on May 24, 2009]
This Memorial Day Weekend, for the first time ever, Stars & Stripes & Spokes™ -- “America’s Memorial Day Rally” will provide a new destination and gathering place for the more than 300,000 motorcycle enthusiasts who make the annual pilgrimage to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall in Washington, DC.
This free outdoor rally begins Friday, May 27 and continues through Monday, May 30 at the RFK Stadium Festival Grounds. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Walter Reed Society Warrior & Family Support Fund.
In a departure from the customary fare at other motorcycle events, various branches of the US armed forces will be displaying numerous military vehicles and other equipment for public access. Experienced crews will be present to explain and educate the public on the use of the vehicles and equipment to give attendees a better sense of exactly how the troops carry out their missions. There will also be live music, hundreds of vendors, lots of food and cold beer, and free bike parking. The legendary Blues and American Roots band, The Nighthawks will be playing Monday afternoon.
RFK Stadium is just two miles from the US Capitol Building and there will be signage for out-of-town visitors, not familiar with the Washington, DC area.
The Washington Convention and Sports Authority is a partner in this endeavor. The RFK Stadium Grounds are Metro accessible and there will be 14 acres designated exclusively for RVs. Visitors can come for the entire weekend and stay in DC with their campers. The campers must be self-contained. No tent camping is allowed.
Among the many vendors are Hot Leathers, Bob’s BMW, Biker Apparel, Stinger Trailers, Condor Products, Navy Federal Credit Union and Speeds Performance Plus. Look for full page ads in the following magazines: Laconia Rally News, AMA, Thunder Press, Fast Lane Biker, Motorcycle Monthly, Thunder Roads – Virginia and Vietnam Magazine. You will also find links to this rally on the following websites:
• Rolling Thunder®
• Harley Davidson of Washington
• Ride of the Patriots
“You owe it to yourself to witness the birth of what is sure to be a new tradition, the first-ever Stars & Stripes & Spokes™ Motorcycle Rally that we hope will provide a comfortable staging area for the many thousands of riders and DC tourists who are in town to pause and acknowledge the service of our fellow citizens who serve our nation under arms,” said Bruce Bieber, one of three rally co-founders, along with Walter Layton and Harold Bingham. The three DC area riding buddies have attended rallies together all over the country for years, and have been planning this event for three years.
“Stars & Stripes & Spokes™ will be open for business for four full days so you will have plenty of time to visit many of Washington, DC’s memorials, museums and other attractions,” said Bieber. “Washington is a great place to visit at least once in your lifetime because almost all of the museums and memorials are free and open to the public.
“While this event is new, we are building on a 24-year tradition of motorcycles gathering in DC for the ‘Ride to the Wall.’ You can drop by the RFK Stadium Festival Grounds before or after you participate in the annual Ride to the Wall on Sunday.
"Signs will be posted all over town clearly marking designated routes to and from the RFK Stadium Festival Grounds.
“Going into this first-year rally, we have the benefit of the participation and advice of Charlie St. Clair, the long-time Executive Director of Laconia Motorcycle Week, the oldest of the big, national motorcycle rallies, going into its 88th year," he said.
“Everyone is welcome to attend. You do not need to own a motorcycle to participate and enjoy this event. There will be enough food, music, shopping and special events to have broad appeal to motorcyclists, tourists and the local community. We really want this to be ‘America’s Memorial Day Celebration.’”
A portion of the funds from this rally will be donated to the Walter Reed Society’s Warrior/Family Support Fund that is used to assist service members and their families when support provided through Invitational Travel Orders (ITO) does not meet their immediate needs during a patient’s treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC.) The Walter Reed Society was established to support activities and fund projects to benefit the soldiers and staff at WRAMC. They also provide good stewardship of the funds donated and grants awarded to assist service members and/or their family members with unexpected financial needs and provide specially identified equipment and services related to patient care at WRAMC when other resources are not available.
For details, visit http://www.stars-stripes-spokes.com/ or email email@example.com