Rolling Thunder Ch9 Ohio held their 5th annual Mini-Rolling Thunder Motorcycle ride on May 21, 2014. The ride started at Fort Thomas YMCA and rode by 11 schools in Northern Kentucky.
Eric Hempleman of Fort Thomas first had this idea for a ride from Fort Thomas to Newport when he was 13. He wanted his generation to know about the POW/MIA issue. He tells anyone who will listen and even those who don’t want to listen, how he has been overwhelmed by how support and participation in the annual ride has grown since he started organizing the event five years ago. This year was even more special for Eric because it was also the first year he was able to ride a motorcycle with Rolling Thunder riders.
Before leaving on the ride several speakers reminded people that we are all responsible to the men and women who have been left behind. We are here to constantly demand a full accounting by our government who to date, has failed miserably. All the time with a plane flying above with a visual reminder about or POW/MIAs.
After all saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and a wonderful rendition of our National Anthem our constant supporter and bugler Kenton County Sheriff Korzenborn snapped to attention and played TAPS. That was the signal for the 50+ motorcycles representing Rolling Thunder to start the ride that took them through several towns on the way to the World Peace Bell in Newport. Riding along with the motorcycles in the procession was a 1930 police car, several Gold and Blue Star families and they were all kept safe by a professional police department escort
The Keynote speaker for the Rolling Thunder event was the brother of a MIA. He started his speech by letting us all know how wonderful and important to see the U.S. flag in front of a message pulled being pulled by a plane circling overhead at both the start and end of the demonstration that read of "Never Forget POW-MIA." Ernie was at the same Da Dang air base with his brother the week before his brother's plane being shot down. He recounted how blessed he was to have that time with him before he got shot down," Ernie went on to state "...time heals wounds, but we can never let the sacrifice be forgotten".
Another important dignitary joining us for his third year was Mr. John Peluso who became a prisoner of war during World War II.