Rolling Thunder helps vets honor their lost brothers

Jake Hughes
May 17, 2018 - 1:50 pm

(Image Courtesy of Sid Marcus)

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Sid Marcus had just flunked out of college when he received his draft notice for Vietnam.

“I didn’t want to go just yet, so I appealed to the draft board and they gave me four more semesters .”

After getting his degree, he was drafted in the Army in 1968. Everyone wondered why, with a degree, he didn’t become an officer. Sid didn’t want to do any additional time in service, just do his two years and get out.

“They told me they’d put me in an MOS that related to my degree, in statistics. But then they sent me to infantry school, so I guess they forgot.”

In 1969, Sid was sent to Vietnam. He spent several weeks in a replacement company until he volunteered to join a ranger unit, Company H, 75th Infantry (Ranger).. He went through rigorous on-the-job training, going out to scout for enemy activity, but he distinctly says he did not attend actual Ranger school in Fort Benning. “My hat’s off to those guys.” After a few months, he was assigned to a statistical position in the rear for the remainder of his service.

Sid bought his first motorcycle, a Yamaha 350, when he got home. He rode it for a few years, but when he got married and decided to raise a family, he got rid of the bike. He didn’t ride again for several decades, until he saw something that re-sparked his interest: Wreaths Across America, an event where wreaths are laid at military gravesites across the country. He witnessed the Patriot Guard Riders escorting the truck of wreaths, and felt it was a cool thing to do. So, in 2003, he bought a Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide.

Rolling Thunder, an annual motorcyle event in Washington, DC also motivated him to rejoin the military community. Riders from all across the country gather at the Pentagon parking lot for fun, friends, and food. Then, the over one million riders ride across the Memorial Bridge and end at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, “the Wall.” The purpose of the ride is to honor troops and veterans, and especially the POW/MIA service members still unaccounted for.

It's the POW/MIA that are especially close to Sid’s heart. “They’re still out there. They still bring back remains from Vietnam, and even as far back as Korea and World War II. Not nearly as fast as I would like, but they’re bringing our veterans back.”

Sid thinks events like Rolling Thunder are important. “It gives veterans an outlet, an excuse to ride your motorcycle. To get out and have a few beers with your buddies. Even if you don’t know anyone, spend 15 minutes there and you become friendly.”

Sid is planning to attend this year’s ride with the American Legion Riders, a group he is an active participant of.

Rolling Thunder Run will take place on May 27th. Events take place all that weekend, but riders participating in the Run are encouraged to gather in the North Parking lot of the Pentagon around 9 AM EST.