Get on your bad motor scooter and ride!
From the Wisconsin State Journal:
Motorcyclists shield mourners from protesters
When Greg "Mac" MacDonald of Manchester heard about protests at the funerals of fallen Wisconsin soldiers, he got a sick feeling in his gut and a plan in his head.
A fringe church group, incensed over what it says are America's moral failings, was protesting at the burials of soldiers - veterans who had fought for their country just as MacDonald's grandfathers and uncles had.
"It made my stomach turn, really," said MacDonald, 41, who is not a veteran himself. "It was just unfathomable how you could be so cruel to the families."
So the Harley-riding activist organized dozens of volunteers to start the Wisconsin chapter of the Patriot Guard Riders, a national group of motorcycle- riding veterans who've made it their mission to shield grieving families from protesters.
The national group organizes dozens of bikers, many of them veterans of Vietnam, the first Gulf War and other conflicts, to stand between protesters and the mourners, MacDonald said. Group members wave flags and occasionally rev their engines if mourners want them to drown out the shouts of the protesters.
Since starting up toward the end of November, MacDonald said he figures his Wisconsin group has assembled close to 100 members. There's been no Wisconsin soldier killed since early December, so there have been no requests for the Patriot Guard here, MacDonald said. But he's already organized a guard presence at a service for a soldier in a suburb of Chicago. The group might attend its first service in Wisconsin in the next month, at a memorial for an out-of-state soldier whose mother is in Wisconsin, he said.
Read the whole article here.
It really doesn't matter what political ideology you embrace; making people feel worse when they are grieving the loss of a loved one, and trying to say goodbye, is JUST PLAIN WRONG! It takes a particularly sick, twisted and unfeeling group of individuals to exploit someone's time of sorrow in an attempt to make a political statement...and especially one of hate.
AP: FORT CAMPBELL - Wearing leather chaps and vests covered in military patches, a band of motorcyclists rolls from one soldier's funeral to another in hopes their respectful cheers and revving engines will drown out the insults of protesters.
Calling themselves the Patriot Guard Riders, they consist of motorcycle club members who can no longer tolerate a Kansas-based fundamentalist church picketing military funerals with signs reading, "Thank God for IEDs." The bikers shield the families from the protesters, and overshadow the jeers with their own patriotic chants and a sea of red, white and blue flags.
"The most important thing we can do is let families know that the nation cares," said Don Woodrick, the group's Kentucky captain. "When a total stranger gets on a motorcycle in the middle of winter and drives 300 miles to hold a flag, that makes a powerful statement."
Across the nation, Patriot Guard Riders number more than 5,000 and at least 14 states are considering laws aimed specifically at the funeral protest group led by the Rev. Fred Phelps, who believes American deaths in Iraq are divine punishment for a country that harbors homosexuals.
Read the whole article here.
As a Harley riding veteran, this is definitely an organization I support:
Patriot Guard Riders Mission Statement
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, 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.
1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.
2. Shield the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.
We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.
I'm going to sign up with them now...