Rolling Thunder is an annual motorcycle rally held in Washington, DC on Memorial Day weekend. Veterans from all across the country converge on the nation’s capital on their motorcycles to remember those who paid the ultimate price to insure our freedoms.
One lone Marine felt called to stand and deliver the salute to his fellow servicemen and women as they rolled past. Little did he know that that act of honor, would make such an impact on his life.
Every year now he returns to the same spot, in full dress blues, and salutes every motorcyclist. Compelled by the act of a single Marine, many stop and return the salute.
The photos are rippling with emotion.
After faithfully standing at this post year after year, a film crew caught up with him to find out who this Marine was, and what the motivation was for his actions.
He explains in his own words how this whole thing came about.
“People know me as the saluting Marine, for a salute that I’ve done for the last fifteen years.”
“The first year I did that, I was stationed here at the Pentagon. I thought, ‘How could I thank all these people rolling by on their motorcycles. So I jumped out on the curb, popped up the salute.”
“Four hours later they brushed me saying, “Thank you, Marine, for giving me my welcome home.”
“A salute is the highest level of respect you can display to a person. A lot of these men and women riding in the POW demonstration, they never got that. So why can’t I salute them, and give them that respect that in a lot of cases, maybe they didn’t get.”
The even became such a major theme in his life, that he and his wife got married at that exact spot. Little did they know the positive effect his new bride would have on widows that were there remembering their fallen husbands.
“I proposed to my wife a few months back. And it just came to be that we could pull of the wedding right there where I salute. Where I’ve dedicated a lot of my life to really.”
“I might have said it jokingly, that she could stand with me. She was definitely on board. When a widow reached out to her to give her a hug and said, ‘You’re standing for me.’ It all came together.”
“I didn’t know when I jumped off the curb that first year what the impact was going to be until the end of that salute, and they all embraced me.”
“To me in my heart, it became a moral post for me. It gave me a duty. Something they need, and something that I can give them.”
Thank you, Marine for never abandoning your post!