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.
Over the past several weeks I learned that he had very active duty in the liberation of convents and orphanages in the Phillipines. I found pictures of his war buddies standing with those orphans. I learned that my Dad had seen with his own eyes the atrocities of war as he came across the victims his team was sent to liberate. I learned that my Dad had spent three months in a VA hospital as a result of his wounds and that he suffered post traumatic stress (although it wasn't named that back then). In my Patriot Guard experience, while I try to make all missions in my area that I can, I have always prioitized the missions for our service brethren who came back from Afganistan and Iraq. From now on, I will try much harder to make missions across all wars. I can only imagine that there are many more veterans who simply never talked about their experience who deserve the same honor as the Patriot Guard riders of New York provided for my Dad.
Next: My cousin who was going to ride with me was unable to attend. So what happened next was a direct result of the posting on the national Patriot Guard page. I was standing in the funeral home and saw the flag line being formed and heard the bikes. Next I see a person walk in dressed fully in leathers and wearing the Patriot Guard sleeve patch. I thought he may be the ride captain coming in to introduce himself. As he got closer he identified himself as my cousin and he wanted to ride with me in honor of my Dad. He too rides with the Patriot Guard. I had not seen my cousin for as best as I can figure forty years. I was blown away. This patriot guard mission was directly responsible for reuniting me with my cousin.
And Next: The last of my fathers brothers (there were 5) had come up from Florida. That cousin I just mentioned apparently had not seen his Dad in decades (I'm told). I don't really know why, that's up to them, but a father and son got an opportunity to reconnect. I can only hope that bears more fruit. Again because of the Patriot Guard mission, a father and son showed up in the same room and have a new chance to build a bridge between what separated them.
In Closing: So from now on when I stand in a flag line and ride in honor, I have a brand new respect for what might be going on in some other family's experience. As members of the Patriot Guard we are doing something special. I hope you never find yourself on the other side of the line. I pray that if you do, you have the same experiences that I have.
So I send my most sincere THANKS to the riders who came in support of my Dad. And GOD BLESS all of you of the Patriot Guard.