By Walt Kero, CPA, ABV, CFF | Kero & Byington & Associates | Missoula
The follow blog was an article written by Walt for JCCS back in 2011. He was kind enough to let us reprint this inspiring piece. We hope you enjoy!
I had an unforgettable experience this past Memorial Day. The process started a few years ago when I started to put together a bucket list. The call to action became a reality last fall when I was talking motorcycles with our tax instructor Lynn Nichols.
The conversation went like this. I asked Lynn if he had been to Rolling Thunder. He said yes and that he went in May. I immediately told him last October that if things worked out I would do my best to go. He said to come on out to Pennsylvania and we would go together to Washington DC.
Sure enough, we rode together from the Pittsburgh area through Pennsylvania and met up with Chris, Alecia and Damen from the Ohio Society of CPAs. Chris and Damen are the computer geeks for the Society and avid bikers. We had a nice ride through Maryland with one bike taking a dive at a rest area. Thankfully, it wasn’t mine!
We made it to Washington DC on Saturday afternoon and stayed in a Maryland suburb. Sunday morning we were at the North Parking lot at the Pentagon- four motorcycles and five riders ready for action at 8:00 am. Some action- we sat around until noon before a bike moved. However, you end up in a sea of thousands of motorcycles and bikers most are veterans. The four hour wait was turned into a positive by walking to the Pentagon Memorial and seeing the reflecting pools on each of 184 benches. There is one bench for each person who died in the 911 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
The motorcycles with their riders started leaving the lot at high noon. We were about 60% of the way through the lot and we started moving about an hour and half later. We went across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to Constitution Avenue past the White House and the Capitol Building to Independence Avenue and past the Washington Monument. We went past thousands of supporters who were yelling, cheering, thanking and giving high fives. You want to talk about a rush! It was so cool to be riding down the left side of the streets and high-fiving bystanders with my left hand and running the throttle with my right hand. I must have made contact with about 25 people in a row right before the turn onto Arlington Memorial Bridge.
The purpose of Rolling Thunder is to draw attention to POW’s and MIA’s from all wars and to say thank you and welcome home to veterans. The event offers the opportunity for all of us to proudly and loudly proclaim our gratitude for all of our freedoms and our love and honor for our veterans who have fought for us. Most of us from my vintage knew classmates who died in Vietnam. This event is the result of that war and is such a good thing for our country. I am very humbled and gratified to have been a part of it.
I have a call to action and that is to develop a bucket list and start checking those items off. Your life will be much better for doing so. Also, if you get a chance to be in Washington DC on Memorial Day participate in the Rolling Thunder events as they are remarkable.