Hundreds of motorcyclists travel 54 miles across Illinois with Rolling Thunder for Memorial Day

ByChristian Piekos WLS logo
Sunday, May 28, 2023
Hundreds of bikers travel 54 miles across Illinois for Memorial Day
Hundreds of motorcyclists are travel 54 miles across Illinois with Rolling Thunder for Memorial Day weekend.

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. (WLS) -- Hundreds of motorcycles thundered to a start, in a unified roar, on a single mission: to never forget.

"We're proud Americans. That's it. We're patriots. We don't have any political agenda, just one mission, and that is POW/MIA awareness and accountability," Paul Hebein said.

Hundreds of motorcyclists from across the state are traveling 54 miles on Sunday with Rolling Thunder, an organization working to make necessary noise about an issue affecting tens of thousands of families.

This is the group's third ride in Illinois.

"We still have 82,000 unaccounted for Americans, men and women, and when you amplify that by generation-after-generation, you end up with a tremendous number that's impacted by these missing warriors," said retired Col. Wayne Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick proudly served in the Army for nearly 25 years. He said this emotional ride makes a mark year after year, and is a point of pride.

"If you get to the end of this ride, and you have dry eyes, you probably weren't paying attention," Kirkpatrick said.

Navy veteran Anthony Yarbrough said the sight of the American Flag waving in the wind should evoke a sense of pride in all Americans, regardless of our differences.

"Never forget. That's what people need to remember," Yarbrough said. "Last year, when we did this ride, there was a gentleman on the ride in a wheelchair, and he was a veteran. He had all of the veteran gear on. When we got down there close to him, he stood up out of his wheelchair and saluted as we rode by."

And, as the country pauses this Memorial Day to reflect on the countless lives lost serving in our armed forces, this patriotic band of brothers and sisters want us to always remember.

"Some gave all, but everybody knows somebody who gave something," Yarbrough said.

Rolling Thunder isn't just made up of people who have served in the military. Some members just love riding and our country, and want to do their tiny part in saying thank you to our service members.