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Old 11-12-2006, 04:08 PM   #1
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This is a copy of a letter I submitted to the GWTA and the Patriot Guard news letters.


How did you spend your Veterans Day Weekend?


For the most part, many Americans have different ideas of what they want to do. Millions watched a Parade; some did honey dos, and some just watched TV. Since November 11, 1971, I have not worked on the 11th because the next year it was made the holiday and not moved to a Monday. That day I spent in an induction center in Chicago and the next morning I found myself in Ft. Lewis, Washington as a Private in the US Army. Like the rest of the country I mostly did nothing, I spent a few years being in parades, and even watched a few. This year I did something I never dreamed of. You see I am a member of the Patriot Guard Riders in Arizona and this year, along with a group of some great Americans( not all are Veterans) Our Mission was to escorted a fallen Hero, a young Marine to his final resting place. Most times we meet at the mortuary, and then take the Hero to his resting place usually a few miles away. But not this time, our mission was to escort this Hero from Phoenix, Arizona to Flagstaff, Arizona over 300 miles round trip.

For most making this trip today going from the mid 70 s in the valley to overcast and 45 in Flagstaff wouldn't be bad in your heated vehicle, but we were on our motorcycles. Its hard to explain the feeling you get when you stand with a flag in your hand and the family and friends of the Hero walk past you tears and sorrow in their eyes and they say "Thank you all". You can't help but feel some of their sorrow. As we left on this mission arrangements were made for a gas stop so some of the guys could top off with gas and the family and friends in the bus could take a break. While we were waiting to continue, a lady trucker came up to me and asked what we were doing? I told her about the Patriot Guard and that we were taking this fallen Hero to his final resting place, she turned to me said ˜God bless you all and gave me a hug. A lump came to my throat, and it was hard to talk but I told her "thank you too, for caring." A little later on the way up a trucker asked me on the CB what we were doing, and I told him. We talked for many miles. When we turned off he wished us the best and went on down the road. After everything was all finished and we were on the way home we passed 2 trucks and one yelled at us asking if we were part of that motorcycle guard group that took the Marine to Flagstaff? I told him we were and he said that a trucker heading east was telling everyone about our group of motorcycles doing this great thing. He thanked us and hoped we wouldn't have to do this type of ride to many times. As yo can see, this is the gut wrenching part of this mission.

But on the other side of the coin the Patriot Guard also has the privilege to welcome home the men and woman who served in the war. I had that opportunity Sunday to go down to the airport and along with the families we greeted the soldiers who made it home. One of which was tied to our group, his dad is also a member. His motorcycle was brought to the base and he was surprised seeing it. To be exact, they were all happy and surprised to see us. We were allowed to bring the bikes to the walk way and we placed them on one side then our supporters got on the other side of the walk way with their flags and a banner and we revved the engines and honked our horns as they went by on their way to their waiting families. Many of them stopped by and thanked us for being there. I smiled, shook their hands and welcomed them home. The feeling you get here is more jubilant, it still stings your heart, but the feeling is a good sting. My wish is we have 5 times more welcome home missions then escorts. We can all only hope.

As a member of the Patriot Guard riders I have seen a lot of things that made me stop and think about the difference between now and what it was like in the 70s. I think that most of the vets in the Patriot Guard want to make sure that they are given the thanks for what they do. The guys I have talked to agree, just a simple "Thank you" is all it takes to let them know they are appreciated. I feel that I am doing my part to show the respect they deserve.

So the next time you see a soldier, shake their hand and thank them for serving. And for all the Vets reading this.............. Thank you.
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Old 11-12-2006, 04:08 PM   #2
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This is a copy of a letter I submitted to the GWTA and the Patriot Guard news letters.


How did you spend your Veterans Day Weekend?


For the most part, many Americans have different ideas of what they want to do. Millions watched a Parade; some did honey dos, and some just watched TV. Since November 11, 1971, I have not worked on the 11th because the next year it was made the holiday and not moved to a Monday. That day I spent in an induction center in Chicago and the next morning I found myself in Ft. Lewis, Washington as a Private in the US Army. Like the rest of the country I mostly did nothing, I spent a few years being in parades, and even watched a few. This year I did something I never dreamed of. You see I am a member of the Patriot Guard Riders in Arizona and this year, along with a group of some great Americans( not all are Veterans) Our Mission was to escorted a fallen Hero, a young Marine to his final resting place. Most times we meet at the mortuary, and then take the Hero to his resting place usually a few miles away. But not this time, our mission was to escort this Hero from Phoenix, Arizona to Flagstaff, Arizona over 300 miles round trip.

For most making this trip today going from the mid 70 s in the valley to overcast and 45 in Flagstaff wouldn't be bad in your heated vehicle, but we were on our motorcycles. Its hard to explain the feeling you get when you stand with a flag in your hand and the family and friends of the Hero walk past you tears and sorrow in their eyes and they say "Thank you all". You can't help but feel some of their sorrow. As we left on this mission arrangements were made for a gas stop so some of the guys could top off with gas and the family and friends in the bus could take a break. While we were waiting to continue, a lady trucker came up to me and asked what we were doing? I told her about the Patriot Guard and that we were taking this fallen Hero to his final resting place, she turned to me said ˜God bless you all and gave me a hug. A lump came to my throat, and it was hard to talk but I told her "thank you too, for caring." A little later on the way up a trucker asked me on the CB what we were doing, and I told him. We talked for many miles. When we turned off he wished us the best and went on down the road. After everything was all finished and we were on the way home we passed 2 trucks and one yelled at us asking if we were part of that motorcycle guard group that took the Marine to Flagstaff? I told him we were and he said that a trucker heading east was telling everyone about our group of motorcycles doing this great thing. He thanked us and hoped we wouldn't have to do this type of ride to many times. As yo can see, this is the gut wrenching part of this mission.

But on the other side of the coin the Patriot Guard also has the privilege to welcome home the men and woman who served in the war. I had that opportunity Sunday to go down to the airport and along with the families we greeted the soldiers who made it home. One of which was tied to our group, his dad is also a member. His motorcycle was brought to the base and he was surprised seeing it. To be exact, they were all happy and surprised to see us. We were allowed to bring the bikes to the walk way and we placed them on one side then our supporters got on the other side of the walk way with their flags and a banner and we revved the engines and honked our horns as they went by on their way to their waiting families. Many of them stopped by and thanked us for being there. I smiled, shook their hands and welcomed them home. The feeling you get here is more jubilant, it still stings your heart, but the feeling is a good sting. My wish is we have 5 times more welcome home missions then escorts. We can all only hope.

As a member of the Patriot Guard riders I have seen a lot of things that made me stop and think about the difference between now and what it was like in the 70s. I think that most of the vets in the Patriot Guard want to make sure that they are given the thanks for what they do. The guys I have talked to agree, just a simple "Thank you" is all it takes to let them know they are appreciated. I feel that I am doing my part to show the respect they deserve.

So the next time you see a soldier, shake their hand and thank them for serving. And for all the Vets reading this.............. Thank you.
__________________

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Old 11-12-2006, 04:18 PM   #3
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I give the Patriot Guard a Big Thumbs up.
I'll be a member soon...
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Old 11-12-2006, 06:52 PM   #4
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Terry; Welcome aboard then, remember you don't have to have a bike to join, or even be a Veteran. if you don't know the web site its www.patriotgurd.org
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:01 AM   #5
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From one Veteran to another, Thanks. I always thank other Veterans young and old.
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:13 PM   #6
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As a veteran and a Patriot Guard rider, it was my intention to ride in the Veteran's Day parade in St. George, Utah.
However, it was 18 degrees outside (at 5:30 am) and even my electric vest and gloves couldn't get me on that bike to ride 50 miles down off the mountain to St. George!
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Old 11-21-2006, 03:33 PM   #7
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So What did everyone do???????
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Old 11-22-2006, 04:11 PM   #8
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We stayed at home, babysat our granddaughter and thought of days past. We also prayed for our son, who is in Afghanistan.

I try to wear my retired Army shirt and hat whenever possible.

Best of luck and may GOD be with you.

Frank
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Old 11-23-2006, 04:01 PM   #9
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I was on the first leg of the Flagstaff Mission also. It is an Honor to support our troops , both fallen and returning Home.....
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Old 11-24-2006, 04:56 AM   #10
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What a touching letter. I am still crying. It is so touching to hear good stories of people who support what our guys our doing. Living on an army post most of my neighbors' husbands are gone, just got home, or are about to leave. We are in a community where we support one another. So many people out there wish us bad tidings. It is so nice to know people care and are there for us and our families. I pray I never have to see you guys personally, but am glad to know you care.
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Old 11-26-2006, 04:18 PM   #11
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Being a Viet Nam era vet I was honored to be able to attend with my dad, a WWII Guadalcanal vet, a Veterans ceremony held at my 4 year old grandson's school.
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Old 11-26-2006, 04:24 PM   #12
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Thanks for the posts.

Robert you missed a great get togeather at Roosevelt Lake this week end, Hope you can make the next one.
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Old 11-27-2006, 01:28 AM   #13
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Hello Jim! I just stayed home that weekend with an asthma flare-up. Thank you for your contribution to our country. The mission of the Patriot guard is laudable; please offer my thanks to each of them. I think the shielding of families from that very dis-functional "church" group is outstanding. If your group happens to be needed in the Midwest I hope I can be there to witness their service and honor to the service members family.
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Old 12-06-2006, 09:15 AM   #14
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I'm still shopping for a bike, but I joined the Patriot Guard last week. Welcome home to all of my brothers and sisters.
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