The actual parade formation began leaving the Pentagon parking lot, on a hot sunny day at 1200 hours. However, due to the tremendous numbers of people involved, many were still forming in the parking lot after 4 in the afternoon. The veterans clubs were given 1st priority for leaving early. The first group to leave were the veteran organizers of the Rolling Thunder Parade. They were followed by the group named RFTW, (Run for the Wall). This group consisted of several hundred veteran bikers who had ridden across the country from California. Following those two starting groups were all other veteran's clubs which rode as club groups but in no particular precedence. The Parade itself was well attended by thousands of well wishers lining the curbs many of which were waving flags and calling out to us "Welcome Home". The welcome homes were especially poignant as most of us had been either ignored or vehemently abhorred by the general public when we came back. The parade and the ceremonies at the memorials were meant to heal and in a very important way they accomplished what they set out to do. I talked to many vets with gray hair and Korean and Vietnam medals who said they were ready to go back in and kick butt of those who would harm America.
A view of all the riders returning to their motorcycles as we had received the word to saddle up and get ready to move out. It gives an idea of how many of us there were as well as the dedication of the American veterans.
Leaving the parking lot for the parade. Just before we left, they released hundreds of red white and blue balloons to mark the beginning of the parade.
The final stop for the parade was the Lincoln Memorial where all the ceremonies took place.
Darlene and I went to the Korean and Vietnam memorials both during the day and then we came back that night.