218th MP Co Letters (Hoffman)
On Sunday, May 30th, I again participated in the event in Washington, DC known as Rolling Thunder, or the Ride to the Wall. For the uninitiated, the multi-day event culmintaes in a ride of motorcycles from the north lot of the Pentagon across the Memorial Bridge, past the Lincoln Memorial and down Constitution Avenue. The "demonstration", organizers frown on calling it a "parade", starts at 12:00 pm as the first of an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 motorcycles begin leaving the Pentagon parking lot. Rolling Thunder is said to be the demonstration of veterans, accompanied by their motorcycling friends, for the rights of MIA's, POW's, and veterans' rights in general. In short, we ride for those who can't ride for themselves. It's an awesome display of camaraderie made all the better by the thousands of people who line the route waving flags, holding signs, and just wanting to say thanks for your service. They reach out to touch you, salute you, hand you bottles of water, clap, cheer, and wave at you, with all of their fingers now forty years later.
This year was special. Before the event kicked off I made the long, hot walk across the Memorial Bridge to the memorials. After visiting the Three Soldiers, which is now enclosed in a wooden shelter for refurbishing, but with viewing windows, I walked down the west sidewalk of the Wall to "talk" to Tom Brady and Robert Garcia. Men from the 218th, I served with, that were killed in November 1970 and October 1970, respectively. Many people were walking in both directions but I saw a man walking towards me wearing an 18th MP Brigade broussard and a jungle fatigue top. I asked him when he was with the 18th Brigade and he replied 1969 - 1970. I asked him what company, and when he said the 218th I immediately inquired where? His reply was Nha Trang. I had found Daniel Jones, one of my patrol partners on those rare times when I wasn't on Gate 2. Daniel very recently listed himself with the 218th website. We talked for a while then parted ways.
I saw him several minutes later and put him in touch with Ron (Beetle) Bailey, 218th MP Co., via my cell phone. What a coincidence! What a memorable day! I thank Dick Reiter and Tom Simmons and applaud their hard work. Oh, by the way, I did "talk" to Tom Brady and Robert Garcia telling them about the upcoming reunion. They would be proud.
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