Rolling Thunder®, Inc.'s 24th Annual Memorial Day Demonstration

Featuring Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Joints Chiefs’ Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, Former USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold

NESHANIC STATION, NJ – May 9, 2011 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of POW/MIA Personnel office Norman Kass (RET) and Commander Kirk Lippold (USN RET), former commander of the USS Cole, which was the target of a deadly terrorist attack in Yemen in 2000, will be featured speakers at Rolling Thunder’s 24th annual demonstration in Washington, D.C., May 27-29, 2011. They will speak during the May 29 program, which will also include appearances by Lynn O’Shea, director of research for the National Alliance of Families for the Return of America’s Missing Servicemen along with Veteran’s Advocate Nikki Mendicino and other supporters of Rolling Thunder and the POW/MIA issue. Due to construction the stage will be located in the field between the Reflecting Pool and the Korean Memorial.  Weekend highlights include:

  • Friday, May 27
    • Candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Wall led by Gold Star and Blue Star families to honor and remember those who gave their lives in service to their country, and those who are still missing or held prisoner, 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 28
    • Salute to the Troops program at the stage in the field between the Reflecting Pool and Korean Memorial, noon to 3 p.m.
    • Reception honoring Gold Star/Blue Star families, wounded veterans from area hospitals, and families of POWs/MIAs at the Hyatt Crystal City at 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 29
    • Program of speakers and music at the stage in the field between the Reflecting Pool and Korean Memorial from 1:30-5 p.m.

Providing musical tributes at the Sunday event once again will be internationally known singer/entertainer, actress and long-time veterans’ supporter Nancy Sinatra, country singer Gordon Painter, the Loch Rannoch Pipes & Drums Band, singer Kelly Trudell and Southern Fried Musicians. A new addition this year is a dynamic group of singers known as 4TROOPS. These four young veterans’ mission is to honor their fellow servicemen and women and recognize the sacrifices our armed forces make in service to their country. They have been featured on The View, Good Morning America, ABC’s Nightline, and other programs and are touring nationally and internationally. Bios on all speakers and musical performers are available in the Rolling Thunder online press room.

The Rolling Thunder Inc. Flame of Freedom will also be transported via motorcycle escort from Oklahoma to Washington, DC, arriving May 27. The Flame will be used at the candlelight vigil to escort Gold Star families as they walk along the Vietnam Wall during the May 27 candlelight remembrance. Click here to get more information about the Flame of Freedom.

About Rolling Thunder

Incorporated in 1995, Rolling Thunder®, Inc. is a class 501 C-4 non-profit organization with over 90 chartered chapters throughout the United States. Membership comprises men and women with 40-45% being non-veterans and the balance being veterans from all wars and peacetime. Although many of its members ride motorcycles, a person does not have to own or ride a motorcycle to be a member, just the time and willingness to be an advocate for our troops, veterans, and POW/MIAs. For more information about Rolling Thunder, visit the organization’s web site at

Information for Media

Program details will be available in the online press room and are updated as needed. Members of Rolling Thunder’s national media committee will be available at event locations throughout the weekend to assist working press with interviews, photographs, and any other needs. For more information or to schedule interviews in advance, please contact Nancy Regg, national media committee chairperson, at (908) 310-3268 (cell) or

SOURCE: Rolling Thunder, Inc.