Where the small town is located and whose funeral it was doesn't really matter. When I was informed the "Patriot Guard" would be there my first thought was, major over kill.
You see, there is a group of so called "activists" who have made a name for themselves by picketing and disrupting funerals of fallen U.S. soldiers. My feeling is that they are primarily a publicity seeking group who would not take the time or trouble themselves to show up in our little community. The "Patriot Guard," on the other hand, is a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who are determined to protect the honor of fallen soldiers and make sure their families are able to honor their dead peacefully without interruption by any would-be protesters. The "Patriot Guard" numbers near 230,000 members whose motto is "Standing for Those Who Stood for US."
As is the custom of our little church a meal was being prepared to serve the family of the deceased after the service. I was hurrying to finish the dishes that I was to take to the church for the dinner. I left the house still thinking it unnecessary to have the Patriot Guard, and as I approached the church, my heart nearly stopped. Down the front walk from the church and along the sidewalk to the North and to the South, American flags stood furling in the breeze on this sunny, cool September morning. I don't think I have ever seen our church building look so spectacular. And next to each flag stood, a leather clad "Patriot Guard" rider, ready to ensure a peaceful celebration of this fallen Marine's life. Protecting his family's right to honor him and commend his spirit unto God. The Marine Color Guard, in dress blue's, stands at parade rest waiting the order to sound the gun salute.
Now, I am inside the church building and the service honoring this fallen soldier is under way. The Christian service is nearly complete. Comments have been made about this mans 30 year stint in the U.S. Marine Corps. Near the rear of the sanctuary, three Marines in dress blues, stand at the ready to begin the Military Honors part of the service. I find my mind wandering back to the breathtaking sight as I approached the church building earlier. My previous negative thoughts about the presence of the "Patriot Guard" have melted away and I find myself thinking how safe I feel. How thankful I feel that those men are standing outside this building to make sure that no one disrupts the honoring of this fallen soldier. Tears begin to well up in my eyes as my thoughts drift further, and I think of family members and friends who have in the past or are currently standing at the ready to protect me and mine, this nation and its ideals, against anyone who would try to destroy it.
Each of us knows someone who has a son or daughter, brother or sister, maybe even a mom or dad, who has recently put their life on the line. Maybe even someone who is currently standing between us and those who would destroy us. Please pray for them daily and thank them as often as possible. Because of them we are still free!
Patriot Guard riders, I thank you and salute you for standing up and making it possible for us to honor our fallen soldiers without fear of interruption from misguided individuals abusing the freedoms guaranteed to each of us by the very one being honored.
Kevin D. Williams