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Sarah Palin rolls out at Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride

Former Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, is greeted by fans at Rolling Thunder motorcylce ride in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, May 29.

Palin's embarking on a bus tour that takes her from Washington, DC, to New Hampshire, that all-important early primary state. NBC's Domenico Montanaro looks at what it means, who it helps and benefits in the GOP field, and if it signals she's running for president.

By Alexandra Moe, NBC News

Sarah Palin kicked off her "One Nation" bus tour today at the Rolling Thunder ride in Washington, DC.

"This is our first stop and we're very, very thankful to have such an event that is so worthwhile, so worthy and I appreciate being invited," Palin told NBC News outside the Pentagon before the bikes took off for the National Mall.

She joined thousands of motorcycles from across the country in the annual ride that draws attention to American veterans and  missing troops.

Palin, who may run for president in 2012, received mixed reviews for participating in this years event because organizers say it is not meant to be a political event. 

"We're here to honor our vets and remind Americans how extremely important it is to express our gratitude," Palin said when asked why she was at the event.

Her husband, Todd, and daughters Bristol and Piper also joined in the rally - all riding Harley Davidson bikes towards the front of the pack.