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Rolling Thunder to Launch 'Operation Carry the Flame'

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2004 – Operation Carry the Flame, a national ride across America to honor the armed forces and veterans and to remember prisoners of war and service members missing in action, is slated to kick off May 18 in Modesto, Calif.

Hundreds of motorcycles and other vehicles are expected to accompany a ceremonial torch during the annual cross-country trip, sponsored by Rolling Thunder, Inc., a nonprofit veterans organization.

The final destination is Washington, D.C., where participants will join in Memorial Day activities planned for the May 28 to 31 weekend. The major Rolling Thunder event, on May 30, will include a ride to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a speakers program and a concert.

Artie Muller, Rolling Thunder's national president, said Operation Carry the Flame helps increase awareness about POWs and MIAs while honoring those who serve as well as the nation's veterans.

The torch honors the Blue Star Mothers of America, mothers of those serving on active duty, and the Gold Star Mothers of America, who have lost a son or daughter in service of their country, he said.

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