Members of Rolling Thunder North Carolina Chapter Two departed from the parking lot of The Shops at North Town around 10 a.m. Wednesday. This marked the beginning of their ride to Washington, D.C. in honor of service members left behind in war.
More than 100 motor bikes, three wheeled motorcycles and a semi-truck filled the parking lot; the air humming with the sound of engines. Spectators waved American flags and cheered bikers while lining the exit of the lot. Salutes were given by bikers and spectators.
Spectator and Vietnam veteran Don Carr said he was there to pay his respects.
“(It’s) to remember our fallen veterans and comrades,” he said solemnly. “To keep the dream alive and to remember their sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today.”
Fran Crews came to see the bikers depart because she has family members who served in the military, and playfully admitted she wished she could join the ride.
“I think this is one of the greatest things that Statesville can have,” she said. “I think they just need a lot of support and love.”
Cindy Campbell happened to be taking a break from her shift at Coffee House Waffle Shop when she caught the procession. Like Crews, she mentioned that she also has loved ones who had given their time to the service.
“The one they are riding for gave the ultimate sacrifice,” she said.