LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – More than a hundred veterans along with their family and friends gathered at the capitol Sunday. It was all in honor of those still missing in action as well as prisoners of war.

The annual “Ride for Freedom” brings thousands of veterans to the nation’s capitol in Washington D.C. But organizers with one veteran group said this year, chapters around the country are bringing the remembrance and comradery closer to home. Speeches and music marked the first time the ride was held in Lansing.

“From coast to coast, from north to south. Instead of bringing that message to D.C., we are bringing that message to our own states and our own government,” said Duane Oparka, president of Rolling Thunder Michigan Chapter 5, a veteran’s advocacy group.

He was one of dozens of supporters and veterans who made the trip from Belding to the capitol steps. In the early afternoon, sounds of motorcycles filled the air as the group made their way through Downtown Lansing with a message of remembering those still unaccounted for as well as calling for action on issues facing their community. Though not a vet himself, Oparka said advocating for those who have served is the least he can do.

“We’re trying to help them, show that we are a brotherhood. No matter what, we don’t even need you to know our names but we want to help you, be your friend. lean on us, we want to help you,” he said.

Those who fought on the frontlines had a chance to share their experiences. Veterans like Jim McCloughan, an army combat medic in Vietnam and Medal of Honor recipient who addressed the crowd.

“To be here in the capitol and talk to the individuals about what I saw as a combat medic too. I was really close to those who lost their lives in battle. So, I’m going to have that in my speech today and how that affected me throughout my life,” he said.

For U.S. Navy Mike Holmes, he said riding along side fellow vets is special. It’s through events like this one that Holmes said they’re able to tighten their bond.

“We’re a brotherhood. We kid each other about our branches of service,” he added. “You know that goes on all the time. But comradery is what its all about and we’re all here for the same thing,” said the President of Rolling Thunder Chapter 4.