This I Believe

Michelle - 66861, Kansas
Entered on May 8, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I am a member of the Patriot Guard. I ride my motorcycle to funerals of fallen soldiers to stand between the soldier’s family and the nasty protesters that have been frequenting funerals of our fallen heroes. I am an American and I am proud to fly the American flag in tribute of our country and the men and women fighting for our freedom.

So have you heard of this bungler Fred Phelps and his “Westboro Baptist Church” protests of the war in Iraq? Technically he is not protesting the war, what he is saying is that God is punishing America for harboring homosexuals. Apparently this deranged group believes that improvised explosive devises (I.E.D.’s) are God’s new method of choice in raining His holy justice on infidels and the profane. As if having this stance isn’t bad enough, this group has taken to spreading their message at funerals of fallen U.S. soldiers, saying things like “God hates your son” and “He is burning in hell” to the grieving families. They also have signs that say “Thank God for I.E.D.’s” and “Thank God for dead soldiers”. They are flying the American flag upside down and also throwing it on the ground and stomping and spitting on it.

Because of the Fred Phelps protest another phenomenon was created. That is the birth of the “patriot guard riders”. We are a volunteer group that came together after hearing that so many military families were being blindsided by the protesters. What began as a small group of American Legion riders has now grown into a nationwide network of motorcyclists who honor fallen soldiers. The group rides to the funerals to show their sincere respect to our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities. The group also protects the mourning family and friends from uninvited disturbances created by protesters by providing a human shield between themselves and the protesters. The “patriot guard riders” always contacts the families and law enforcement prior to attending any funeral. In every case they have been welcomed, and in fact in several cases, families requested their attendance. Praise has come from the media, law enforcement, National Legion Headquarters, active duty military members serving in Iraq, and the most meaningful of all, the families.

The “patriot guard riders” has now grown into the hundreds, riding and driving throughout Kansas and bordering states to honor America’s fallen soldiers. Numerous members have recently become active with local, state, and national officials to enact stringent laws, statutes, and ordinances to ensure families may honor their fallen family members without the interruptions of the protesters. More than a dozen states are now considering legislation that would restrict protesting at funerals.

If you would like to help, you can write your congressperson or state representative and let them know they have your support in drafting laws binding the hands of these protesters. You can also join the “patriot guard riders” at funerals. There is no need to be a veteran or have a motorcycle to be a part of the group. You can look up the “patriot guard riders” at www.patriot