American Veterans Don’t Want Palin

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Palin the party crasher or that is what a group of motorcycle riding veterans called “Rolling Thunder” holding an event in the capital are calling her when they heard she plans to attend their rally called, ‘Ride for Freedom’ on May, 29th.

According to Rollingthunder1.com, the group’s main function is to publicize the POW-MIA issue. They want to educate the public about the fact that many American prisoners of war were left behind after all past wars.

They want to help correct the past and to protect future veterans from being left behind should they become either Prisoners Of War or Missing in Action. “We are committed to helping American veterans from all wars. Rolling Thunder, Inc. is a non-profit organization and everyone donates his or her time because they believe in the POW/MIA issue.”

“She wasn’t invited. We heard yesterday that she came out with a press release stating she was coming to Rolling Thunder,” Ted Shpak, national legislative director of Rolling Thunder, told “Andrea Mitchell Reports.” Shpak is one of the three leaders of Rolling Thunder, and he says he had no idea Palin was coming until it was posted on her website. “She’s not invited to speak. We’re not endorsing her … (but) we can’t stop her from coming to ride, if she wants to ride,” he stated on msn.com.

People that were invited to come, according to the group’s website include, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but no Sara Palin. Palin appears to be using the event to gain free publicity. Just showing up to an event doesn’t mean you are ‘officially’ taking part of it. Anyone can show up at a rally, but that doesn’t mean you are endorsed by it. It seems Palin was looking for an endorsement via association, a major public relations faux pas.

Mike DePaulo told NBC News, NBC.com, he had an open invitation for her to ride with them from the Pentagon across the bridge to D.C. – and that “the Palin campaign” called on Wednesday to see if they could still do it. He and a friend, Joe Fields, of the Alaska Veterans’ Advisory Council, who had worked with Palin when she was governor, invited her to the event. Apparently the rest of the group’s members didn’t get that memo. Depaulo claims they have a permit for Palin’s bus to park on Henry Bacon Drive near the Lincoln Memorial, but admits that he didn’t tell current leaders of the organization that she was coming. When asked if Palin’s ‘One Nation’ bus will be participating in the event, Shpak of Rolling Thunder Inc. responded, “Absolutely not.”

Palin states that “Our nation is at a critical turning point. As we look to the future, we are propelled by America’s past. It’s imperative that we connect with our founders, our patriots, our challenges and victories to clearly see our way forward. A good way to do this is to appreciate the significance of our nation’s historic sites, patriotic events and diverse cultures, which we’ll do in the coming weeks on our “One Nation” tour.”

According to Sarahpac.com, “We’ll celebrate the good things that bring Americans together; those things that will give us the needed strength to meet the heady challenges ahead. I’ve said many times that America doesn’t need a “fundamental transformation,” instead we need a restoration of all that is good and strong and free in America! So, together let’s prepare ourselves for the days ahead by reminding ourselves who we are and what Americans stand for.”

This sounds a lot like Larry the Cable guy’s intro to his show ‘Only In America,’ on the HistoryChannel.com, “Larry the Cable Guy believes the United States of America is the greatest country on the face of the earth and he’s out to prove it. In Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy, Larry crisscrosses the nation, going totally off the beaten path to find the people, places and things that define this nation’s unique history.” Sorry Sara it appears this idea is already taken. Maybe she can follow Larry’s bus around and claim she is a part of it too.

So once again Palin is stirring up national controversy, some think she should bow out of the event because she is detracting from the event’s main purpose, MIA’s and POW’s. Palin supporters think that she is bringing much needed publicity to the event.

Shpak says Palin’s attendance “is a big distraction” and that his “phone has been ringing off the hook” since she announced her intention to attend the event. “We’re not political. This is not a political event … Maybe she’s coming because she knows we have a half a million people in town and thinking she can start her [campaign]?” stated Shpak. “We’re taking care of our issues and that’s why we’re here.”

Russell W. Dickson, lives in upstate NY, and is a Freelance journalist. He has written for both print and online news/opinion pages.Russell holds a B.A. in English, minor Journalism from The University at Albany, Albany, NY. His writing experience spans more than a decade and his work has graced the pages of newspapers, magazines, online news orgs, and political websites in both the U.S. and abroad.