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Veteran amazed by Rolling Thunder reception

June 16, 2012
The Journal

To the editor:

On May 27, 2012 my wife June and I participated in the 25th Anniversary "Rolling Thunder" Motorcycle Ride.

My name is David Nelson and I am the son of Clinton and Darlene Nelson of Hanska and a 1979 graduate of New Ulm High School. We left our house in Fredericksburg, Va., to meet with other local riders at the East Coast Harley Davidson dealer at Quantico, Va. Our group was given a Police Harley Davidson escort up Jefferson Davis highway to I-95 and then to the Pentagon.

I was amazed to see thousands and thousands of my fellow citizens lining the side of Jefferson Davis Highway waving American flags, some saluting, and all waving and say thank you as we rode past. Once on I-95 every overpass was likewise filled with people doing the same thin many with huge American Flags hanging down.

The scene at the Pentagon was unbelievable. I have been riding for 35 years and been to many events and have never seen anything to compare with this. Roughly 400,000 bikers rode from there to the National Mall. There were riders from every state as well as Canada. As we began to roll out to ride around the National Mall we crossed into D.C. by crossing the Bridge from Arlington National Cemetery and onto the Mall. A similar situation awaited us there with all sides of the Mall lined with well wishers.

I served my country for 24 years in the Navy and I never expected thanks or praise. I served out of a sense of duty and pride in wearing the uniform and expected nothing in return so to experience what I did was a moving and very emotional experience for me. To see so many of my fellow Americans out in force to say thank you was very humbling. June and I decided that we will never again miss another year of "Rolling Thunder."

The mission of "Rolling Thunder is to publicize the POW-MIA issue, to educate the public that many American Prisoners of War were left behind after all previous wars and to help correct the past and to protect the future Veterans from being left behind should they become Prisoners Of War-Missing In Action.

I would ask every American to remember what sacrifices are made by the men and women of the Armed Forces every day. They do this not for glory, honor, money, or fame. Most do it out of a sense of duty and a Love of Country and all any of them want in return is respect. This is especially true for the Vietnam Vets who were too often blamed for an unpopular war and were vilified for doing their duty. It is politicians who begin wars but men and women fight them and have to live through the consequences.

Thank a veteran, you will be surprised how good it makes you feel and amazed at how much it means to all of us.

David Nelson

Fredericksburg, VA



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