October 30, 2008

As a Forward Observer  Platoon Sergeant and Fire  Support NCO in Iraq, one of my  duties was the care of my soldiers.  Two people I knew very well got killed  out there.  One was in my platoon  that I took over after he'd already been  hit, and another was my Fire  Support Officer (SSG Dwayne Dreasky, 31 and LTC  Michael Maclaughlin, 44).  We lost a lot more people than those 2 guys...altogether losing 83 great Americans in our  2-28 Infantry Brigade during  our year long tour in Ramadi/Anbar Province, from June '05 to June '06.  Many more got wounded, but thank God those  guys made it home and didn't  add to the count of 83.  We had a picture and a narrative of each fallen  soldier on an honor wall in our brigade command post.  .

When we  started losing guys, we had memorial services for them in Iraq and knew,  of course, they'd get the appropriate respects and honors back home. One  thing we didn't anticipate was the disrespect and hatred shown by the Phelps  church group...protesting at our fallen brothers' funerals, waving the  banners and signs that they wave so ignorantly and so proud.  The first time I  read about that in the "Stars and Stripes,"  I had to read it again, because  I couldn't imagine anyone being so hateful and disrespectful.  I just  about cried after reading the article.  Another soldier asked me what was  wrong..I handed him the paper, and he had the same reaction.  We were pretty  pissed off, and pretty soon we were all talking about what we would do if  we saw them in-person.  We'd all been insulted by this hateful group. Deeply  insulted.  We all were wondering, "Why doesn't anyone do anything about  this?"  We were in shock.

Then, a  few days later, there was an article about this group of bikers who were  now putting themselves as a barrier between the protesters and the grieving families of our fallen soldiers.  I  couldn't believe that when I read  it, either..so I read it again, and again.  I must have read that article  ten times before I shared it with anyone.  Some other guys had already  read the article, and the feeling we all felt that someone was actually doing something to counter the protesters was  the best feeling I can't  even describe.  I was filled with pride to know that fellow Americans were  giving up their time, honoring our fallen, regardless of whether they knew  them or not, and providing a barrier from the protesters for the families grieving.  Pretty soon, everyone was  saying, "Hey..did you hear about  that biker group?  Yeah..they're all over the country, I hear they're doing  this all over the place, where they can...that's f&^*ing great, man!!!!"

It was  good to know that while we were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, someone  was fighting for us, back home...fighting for our respect, for our fallen  and for the families of the fallen.  Thank you.To all  of your group and all of the PGR..this Sergeant First Class would like to  give you my most sincere and heartfelt "THANK YOU" for doing what you  do.  THANK YOU with all of my soul.  I can't even put into words how thankful I am, and others are, for what you guys  do.  It means more to us than  anything, to know that regular Americans volunteer to ensure a fallen soldier  gets the respect and dignity he/she deserves at their funerals. We all  know who you guys are...everyone's heard about you and your group in Iraq.  I've spoken with Afghan vets also, and  your group always comes up as a topic  of respect and honor.  You are well known, and your efforts are very much  appreciated.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

God  bless all of you, and really..I can't thank you enough for how you honor  our fallen.

Thankfully....
SFC J. Philip  Marquez

October 16, 2008

Thank you from a Kansas PGR member:

This is going to be a long Thank You, but I think it is all worth saying.

I have done many missions out here in Kansas. This is my first on the other side of the flag line. My experience is something that has endeared me more to the Patriot Guard mission than every before so bear with me.

First I want to just say Thank You. I know that many of you gave up your Saturday to honor my Dad. That was incredible of you and so much appreciated. The funeral home directors had never seen the Patriot Guard, other veterans and family members of veterans who were at my Dad's funeral had never seen the Patriot Guard. They were all so very impressed and very touched by your presence. The flag lines both at the funeral home and the cemetary demonstrated comraderie and respect that is often perceived as absent in America. Your actions filled a gap in the hearts of those who will miss my Dad as well as those who want to know that patriotism still lives.

Then there are some some things that went on I want you to know about that were a direct result of the Patriot Guard that aren't so visible from the flag lines and rides.

First: My dad rarely talked about his service duing WWII.

October 15, 2008

I drove to the airport with Brad Paisley in my CD player. My heart thumped with excitement, my boy was coming home. I was alone in the car, everyone was still at work. But I would not be greeting my son alone. The Patriot Guard would be there, I was meeting them before his arrival.

I am a PGR member, and had requested a flagline at the airport. Knowing it was mid-week, and early evening, I did not expect a big turn out for the event. No, I would be hopeful for 5-10 people and grateful for that many. My mind wandered as I drove, picturing the events to come. Flags held high as my son came to me at the airport. My heart raced, and I could feel the stretching of my cheeks as my mouth was in a never ending smile on the way there. More than anything, I could not wait for that first hug. That once all over check, that eye to eye greeting.

September 30, 2008

To: NY Patriot Guard Riders,

Thanks for making Sept. 12, 2008 a very special one for me and especially Mike and the rest of the Hauser family...I just want each and everyone of the men and women who where there in the guard to know how we all felt about all of you being there God Bless you all and I will never forget how special You all made our day, Michael was sooooo taken back by all the attention he told me to say

THANKS AND GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love to all...Margie & Ray

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