Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Thoughts on the Patriot Guard Riders

[Kat's Note: A few days ago, a local DJ just happened to mention the PGR on his morning show... well, you know me... I just HAD TO email him and share a thought or two about the PGR... and then I thought...hey, this might make an alright blog post! So.... here ya go!]

Even though I'm not a biker, I joined the Patriot Guard Riders on October 5, 2006, shortly after PFC Aaron Kincaid of Lilburn, GA, was killed in Iraq. His funeral was the first I attended with the PGR - and the first time I've ever had the privilege to associate with a bunch of "big, bad bikers." "Biker world" is a completely different universe from my own extremely tame and uneventful world of wife/mom/college student/legal secretary/troop supporter. I was very nervous the day of the Kincaid funeral, not knowing what to expect. What I discovered completely blew me away. This bunch of tough-looking, leather-wearing, big bad bikers.... is made up of individuals with hearts of GOLD. They treated the clueless non-biker newbie with the utmost kindness and respect, and welcomed me into their midst with open arms.

You see, being a Patriot Guard Rider isn't about motorcycles, or leather, or anything else other than RESPECT: Respect for our fallen heroes and respect for their families. Many of the Patriot Guard Riders are veterans ~ veterans who have found strength and healing from long-ago wounds, through the close-knit brother/sisterhood that is the PGR. My own life has been enormously enriched and blessed through this organization. There is nothing more meaningful than providing comfort and a calming presence for the families of our fallen heroes while paying tribute, each in our own way, in our own hearts, to our fallen. I have stood beside tough, grizzled ole bikers you would think you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley, as BOTH OF US wept unashamed tears as "Taps" echoed through a cemetery. I have seen, first hand, the impact the presence of the PGR has when a grief-stricken aunt walked up to us after one funeral, and hugged several of us, saying, "Thank you for honoring my nephew so beautifully!" words failed and all I could do was hug her back, desperately hoping that all the love and respect in my heart were conveyed through that hug, as words failed me utterly at that moment. And THAT is what the PGR is all about -- showing the family that their sacrifice DOES matter -- that we DO care, and that we WILL NOT forget... and that we now and forever will RESPECT our fallen and their families.

So… the next time you hear a really loud motorcycle rev up, don't think, "Dang, I wish they would be quieter!" Rather, think of it this way... that biker could very well be one of the PGR's 69,000 members... and that deep rumble could be more than "just" a loud bike -- rather, it could be the sound of patriotism in motion.


Georgia Blogger