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PisnNapalm
02-29-2008, 06:49 PM
I posted this in another forum for some of my closest online friends. I figured I should post it here as well. Stop and Go Radio is an internet radio station I co-host with some friends. www.stopandgoradio.com


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Last year when we covered the Westboro Baptist Wackadoos on Stop and Go Radio, we also covered the Patriot Guard Riders. I was moved by what the PGR stood for and always kept it in the back of my mind that if a "mission" were close enough and I was able to attend, I would. I created an account on their website and for about the last year received emails about missions.

Well... on Wednesday morning a mission notice was in my email inbox and I couldn't ignore it. It was for a Captain from Phoenixville. He was killed in Iraq on Feb. 20th. The pieces just fell into place for me. There couldn't possibly be a closer mission ride. I had just bought a motorcycle... I had the free time...

So Wednesday afternoon I purchased some additional cold weather gear and asked for Friday morning off work.

It was 14 degrees here this morning when I left the house at 7:15am. The rally point was about 10 miles away in the parking lot of the Valley Forge Convention Center. I was riding through Phoenixville and I had a choice to make about how to get to Route 23. Do I take Star St. or stay on Main St.? I stayed on Main St.

A few blocks away from Rt. 23 I saw 3 PGR members parked on a side street. I pulled in thinking that this was just a meeting place for some local riders before they headed to the rally point. How naive I was. On the corner across from them was a funeral home.

Yup. You guessed it. This was the funeral home where Captain Raudenbush had been laid out for the viewing. These three PGRiders were his escort to the church where the service was going to held. After introductions and handshakes the Ride Captain said I could ride with them in escort. I was a bit unsure if I should or not. I had never ridden in formation with anyone really. I also didn't consider myself to be a member of the PGR. But they assured me it would be fine and I accepted.

The 2 Ride Captains lead the funeral procession and another rider, Greg, and myself brought up the rear. The procession was slow. We averaged about 20mph on the way to the church just a few miles away.

Once we arrived at the church we parked and waited for the main group to arrive from the rally point. About 35 minutes later roughly 40 men and women on bikes pulled in. There were maybe a dozen more car loads as well.

Then we were given instructions on where to form the flag lines. We stood outside the entrance and lined up along the drive for about 2 hours. Very little talking, we just stood holding our flags. It was very somber. It gave me time to reflect on things... life.

Quite a few guests/family members thanked us as they walked by. The soldier's mother( I think) and a few family members came out to thank us and to talk with the Ride Captains.

My back and shoulders are very sore right now. Who knew that not moving for so long would hurt so much. blink.gif

At about 11 am we took a half hour break while the service was being held in the church. Afterward we re-formed much longer flag lines that lead from the church all the way around and down the drive to the road.

The casket was loaded on to the caisson and the procession toward the cemetery across the road began. As the caisson and guests walked past we joined in beside them in orderly lines.

The rest of the ceremony took place with military precision. Every movement and detail finely choreographed. This is the first military funeral I've seen. I have to admit that I was a tad teary eyed during the playing of Taps and when the pipes played Amazing Grace.

I sort of felt like the oddman out though. Virtually all of the members are obviously veterans. I'd guess a majority are Vietnam vets. But there were some younger men and women who appeared about my age. Mostly likely Gulf War #1 veterans. It wouldn't surprise me if I was the only non-veteran there. Everyone I met though eagerly extended a hand and a smile. I definitely got a good vibe from those I talked to.

Greg, who I mentioned before, rode all the way in from Lancaster, PA. That's nearly an hour west of Phoenixville. Tomorrow he's going to attend another service in York, PA which is about 40 minutes west of Lancaster. Others drove in from hours away to attend. They are very dedicated.

My daughter got home from school a little while ago. She asked me how it went today and I told her pretty much what I have just typed above. Then she asked, "Will you do it again?" I thought for a few seconds and said that "Yes. I would."

GBMelBlount
02-29-2008, 08:41 PM
Awesome story. Do you have a link to a/the story about the Patriot Guard Riders? Last Patriot Guard I saw was flat on his ass right before Brady got sacked. :helmet:

PisnNapalm
02-29-2008, 08:52 PM
Awesome story. Do you have a link to a/the story about the Patriot Guard Riders? Last Patriot Guard I saw was flat on his ass right before Brady got sacked. :helmet:


LOL! nice one GB. :tt02:

www.patriotguard.org

GBMelBlount
02-29-2008, 08:58 PM
LOL! nice one GB. :tt02:

www.patriotguard.org

The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America?s freedom and security. If you share this respect, please join us.

We don?t care what you ride or if you ride, what your political views are, or whether you?re a hawk or a dove. It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you?re from or what your income is; you don?t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.

Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives......

Wow.

NJarhead
02-29-2008, 09:01 PM
That's outstanding! I've heard about them and thought about supporting the effort. I don't own a bike and probably never will though. Not sure if they're also the ones that greet the troops at the airport. I've considered going up for those just in case some pink coalition *ussy decided to do something...stupid, so I could respond with something...heh, stupider. :wink02:

PisnNapalm
02-29-2008, 10:20 PM
That's outstanding! I've heard about them and thought about supporting the effort. I don't own a bike and probably never will though. Not sure if they're also the ones that greet the troops at the airport. I've considered going up for those just in case some pink coalition *ussy decided to do something...stupid, so I could respond with something...heh, stupider. :wink02:


Yes they do greet troops returning from overseas. They also see the troops off when they ship out.

You don't need to have a motorcycle to participate. All you need to do is show up. :thumbsup: Join the website. Sign up for your region of the country and they take care of the rest. Do what you can....

Preacher
03-01-2008, 01:18 AM
Yes they do greet troops returning from overseas. They also see the troops off when they ship out.

You don't need to have a motorcycle to participate. All you need to do is show up. :thumbsup: Join the website. Sign up for your region of the country and they take care of the rest. Do what you can....

Thank you PNP for doing that.

You know, it is funny... if more people took that attitude... "The only prerequisite is Respect." This nation would be a MUCH better place to live.