Rolling Thunder Run 2016
Every year, I’m driven a little crazy by those who think of Memorial Day as about cookouts and blowout sales. Nothing is wrong with being excited by the start of summer, or a three-day weekend, or a nice discount: I certainly appreciate Memorial Day for all those things too. But I do try to keep in mind, lingering somewhere, the reason why I get to sleep in on a Monday morning. I indulge a little smugness and annoyance when I hear people talking about going to the mall or drinking beer on the deck, with no awareness of why they are getting to do those things on this day.
The last several years, I’ve attended the Rolling Thunder Run in D.C., which is usually equal parts humid, fun, and weird. And perhaps what I appreciate most about this touching, extremely loud event is that it is a reminder that the holiday is a memorial: it’s about people who died.
At the Lincoln Memorial, waiting for the bikes, we saw the most entertaining idiots. Who decides to hold an engagement photo shoot on Memorial Day weekend? Who further decides to jump into the street several times to get the perfect lying-in-the-street-to-kiss-before-the-cars-hit-us photo? These guys:
Another interesting development this year was that the Marine who salutes on the corner as the bikes turn onto Constitution got married. About thirty minutes before the Run. On that strip of median. Late morning, a white hummer limo pulled up and a woman in a wedding dress got out. After the ceremony, she stood there on the median with him. It was moving and bizarre, like much of the whole spectacle.
For me, the day wrapped up on the walk back to the Metro with a saluting, flag-waving, jumping pogo stick-er.
And of course, what’s a visit downtown on a significant day without a sighting of at least one nutjob–or at the least his automobile.