myself why I ride in the Patriot Guard. As I search for the right answer, many different ones come to mind but none quite fit. If I were to have to pick one for some reason, I’d probably go with something like “I just think it is what I’m supposed to do right now”.
Is it fun? Well, no, it isn’t. Oh sure, you meet some interesting people and see a lot of nice motorcycles but you can do that anywhere, without standing in the sun, rain or cold. And without tears flowing everytime you turn around.
It’s more about who I am today and about what I want the country to be. I grew up during the Vietnam War and well remember the lack of respect shown towards our soldiers, both those who didn’t make it home and those who did. Seeing the demonstrations not only against the war but against the men and women who wore the uniforms. And I don’t want to see that repeated.
I think that some people do want to see that pattern repeated and they fall into two groups. One group consists of the same people that participated in the undermining of our military in Vietnam and they yearn for the past, in a vain attempt to legitimize their corruption. The other group consists of people, both young and old, that either didn’t have the opportunity to participate then or chose not to for any number of reasons.
I hope that when either of these two groups see the non-political, non-partisan display of honor that the Patriot Guard displays for our soldiers today, they will step back, if only for a moment, and think about their conduct. It is one thing to be on one side or another of a political battle, for there are no casualties involved. It is quite another to extend that battle into hatred and disrespect for your fellow citizens that are involved in the physical battle.
As I stand in flag lines, I attempt to capture a few pictures to remember each event. At the last missiion, for Pfc. Roy “Scooby” Jones III, I captured an image that I think represents most of the people that ride in the Patriot Guard. Could I have gotten a better image by leaving the flag line, getting my “good” camera out and walking around? Perhaps, but it wouldn’t have been the same to me. This image was taken while standing silent, in honor of Pfc. Jone’s service to our country.
Why do I like it so? Because it is why I’m there. To remain faceless, unnamed, providing support to a grieving family. And to tell an entire generation of Vietnam Veterans thank you for your service.