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Rolling Thunder makes a loud noise for MIA/POWs

12:34 PM, Sep 26, 2011   |    comments
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  • Tampa, Florida -- Earlier this month, the nation paused to remember the victims and heroes of 9/11--ten years after the worst act of terrorism on American soil.

    A group that helped organize the memorial services in Tampa was Rolling Thunder, which works to make sure no one ever forgets the victims of September 11th and tens of thousands of POWs and MIAs.

    Rolling Thunder was a large--and loud--part of memorial services at the USS Victory Ship in Channelside and the Tampa Firefighters Museum.  It's members, with their motorcyles and leather outfits, can be a little intimidating.  But they are not a typical group of bikers.

    "We're not a motorcycle club," said Jim "Hillbilly" Linesberry, president of Rolling Thunder Tampa. "We use motorcycles to bring attention to our cause.  You don't even have to own a motorcycle to be a member of Rolling Thunder. You just need to be cognizant of the cause and promote the issue."

    That issue is the status of the 90,000 POWs and MIAs left unaccounted for since World War II. 

    "We were dissatisfied with the government's approach to findign and resolving the status of POWs and MIAs," said Linesberry. "We want to hold our elected officials accountable."

    But along with bringing attention to their cause, Rolling Thunder also raises money for local charities like the Haley VA Hospital's Fisher House, the Special Operations Warrior Fund and Paws for Patriots."Everyone of the people who wear those patches are active in the community for a bunch of great causes," said retired Major General David Scott.  He rode with Rolling Thunder during the ceremonies.  "So for those of us who ride motorcyles, it feels good to be a part of their events."

    Rolling Thunder invited another special guest on the Sept. 11th ride--Marine veteran Anthony Inez.  He was left paralyzed after a roadside bomb exploded in Afghanistan.  He led the ride in a specially-made motorcycle sidecar.

    "It's gonna be my first time on a motorcycle period," said Inez.  "So I'm pretty excited about it.  I don't know what to really expect, but I'm ready for it."

    As the procession from Channelside to the museum began, Rolling Thunder more than lived up to its name.  The sound from the motorcyles was almost deafening.

    "A  lot of folks get intimidated by motorcycles and motorcyclists," said Linesberry.  "But motorcylists are probably the most generous in terms of charities and charitable giving events than any group of people that I know....Most patriotic group I know."

    If you're interested in being a part of Rolling Thunder, you can learn more at the group's website.

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