Below is a statement from U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, in observance of Memorial Day:

“America’s brave men and women in uniform and their families make enormous sacrifices in defense of our nation, and today we remember those who paid the ultimate price by giving their lives to defend our country. The freedoms we enjoy today would not be possible without the generations of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have served our nation with bravery and honor – from the earliest days of the American Revolution to our current fight against global terrorism. On this Memorial Day, let us reflect on the selfless service of our servicemembers, veterans and their families, and remember that we owe them our deepest gratitude for all they have given to our nation.

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), co-chairs of the bipartisan Senate Motorcycle Caucus, joined thousands of veterans to observe Memorial Day at the annual Rolling Thunder First Amendment Demonstration Run. The motorcycle ride brings together over one million riders and spectators combined to honor servicemembers killed in action (KIA), those still missing in action (MIA) and prisoners of war (POW). Both Peters and Ernst serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee and are former servicemembers: Peters is a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and Ernst is a former Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard.

“Generations of American military men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country, and we owe them and their families our deepest gratitude,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve.“I was honored to join Senator Ernst and veterans from around the country at Rolling Thunder to pay tribute to the fallen and those who have yet to return home from their service.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. As a nation, we can never repay what was given, or ever say thank you enough. I am proud to join my colleagues at Rolling Thunder today to honor these Americans, and those who were killed in action or became prisoners of war,” said Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

“America’s POW/MIA mission is very important to the VFW and our nation’s veterans, service members and families. It is a promise to those serving in uniform today that no matter what, we will travel to the ends of the Earth to return you home to your families,” said VFW National Legislative Service Director Carlos Fuentes. “The VFW thanks Senators Peters and Ernst for their leadership in making certain the brave men and women who have make the ultimate sacrifice are never forgotten.”

“Rolling Thunder was born out of the efforts of Vietnam Veterans to ensure no generation of veterans is ever forgotten again,” said John Rowan, Vietnam Veterans of America National President. “I thank Senator Peters and Senator Ernst for their steadfast dedication to all of America’s veterans, and for joining veterans from around the country to observe Memorial Day by remembering those who gave their lives in service to our country and those who are still missing in action.”

Rolling Thunder began in 1988 as a response to the Vietnam War era. Led by Vietnam veteran Ray Manzo (CPL, USMC), a group of veterans organized the first run to raise awareness of the significant numbers of American servicemembers missing in action or left behind as prisoners of war. According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), there are more than 82,000 Americans still missing from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the most recently concluded Gulf Wars.

Longtime motorcyclists, Peters and Ernst launched the bipartisan Senate Motorcycle Caucus in 2017 to facilitate discussions on a range of issues on behalf of both motorcycle riders and manufacturers.