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Welcome to Rolling Thunder XXVII

Originally published by Vietnam magazine. Published Online: May 22, 2014 
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Ray Manzo (left) and Master Sgt. Rob Wilkins, U.S. Air Force (ret.), board of directors, Rolling Thunder, Washington, D.C. Inc.
Ray Manzo (left) and Master Sgt. Rob Wilkins, U.S. Air Force (ret.), board of directors, Rolling Thunder, Washington, D.C. Inc.


Never Abandon Our Veterans


I had a dream and wrote a letter to America and the powers that be: "Rolling Thunder, Ride for Freedom." For me, it was all about my brothers and sisters in arms and that "we leave no man behind." That is why the movement began. No one knew who I was in the beginning, no one knows who I am now and no one will know me in the future; but they will know and remember "Rolling Thunder." I simply wrote a letter about a cause—returning our prisoners of war and missing in action. If the bikers did not believe in the cause, my letter would have been merely words on a piece of paper long ago forgotten. It was the bikers who made the movement.

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For me, it has never been about ego, a pat on the back, plaques or recognition. It has been about the men and women of America's military, the bravest and most unselfish people who walk on this earth.

I know the letter written back in 1987 made a difference in history, as it was the beginning of "Rolling Thunder, Ride for Freedom." Over the years many groups and organizations have worked alongside Rolling Thunder to awaken America to a sad part of its history: our POW/MIAs. America thanks you for your effort.

To the millions of bikers from the East Coast to the West Coast, we thank you for bringing the thunder across America to Washington, D.C., for a cause.
Never abandon our veterans. Bring our brothers home. Bring home Bowe Bergdahl, an Army sergeant held captive by the Taliban. Semper fi.


Raymond F. Manzo
1st Marine Division, 7th Engineers, Bravo Company, 2nd Platoon
Da Nang, Hoi An, Quang Nam province, Vietnam
Jan. 3, 1968 to Sept. 4, 1969


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