Vermont Thunder rolls through state despite pandemic

Published: May. 24, 2020 at 4:36 PM EDT
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Vermont Thunder rolled down Interstate 89 Sunday. Despite some coronavirus adjustments, the annual motorcycle ride to honor veterans took place on schedule.

David Eckert, president of Vermont Thunder, says this year's event took a lot of coordination to meet state health guidelines. They made some changes, including fewer stops, but he says it didn't impact the meaning of the day.

"It was a struggle the last couple weeks talking with state officials and figuring out the safest route of travel, but I think this is going to be another great year, pandemic or not," said Eckert.

Many Vermont veterans like Archie Hutchinson and Keith Lyman Sr. agreed. They say there couldn't be a better day or a better reason to ride.

"Perfect weather, good friends -- I mean, we're all friends -- anybody on a motorcycle is a friend," Hutchinson said. "And we're all here for the same reason -- to support our veterans."

"It's great to get out see other people," added Lyman Sr. "Even though we have to be six-feet apart."

Lyman Sr., a Vietnam War veteran, says he and many others participate in the annual ride to remember and show appreciation to their brothers and sisters that never came home.

"The people that didn't come back. I'm one of the lucky ones," he said. "I came home... and that's what this ride means to me, it's to honor our fallen brothers."

The group got an escort from the Vermont State Police and VTrans for the 125-mile trek that started in Sharon and ended in Enosburgh. Some riders say the rolling hills on the interstate remind them of the landscape in Vietnam.

For the motorcyclists taking part in the ride, it's for memories, appreciation and a commitment to remembering our fallen heroes.