Sunday, April 08, 2007

Patriot Guard Riders

Brothers, this little story is not strictly about Freemasonry, however it is one I think you should read.

“Aw poop” (or something like that), I mumbled as I drove into a parking space in front of the Cannon Funeral Home. It was Saturday morning April 7 and I was there for Brother David M. Rattray’s memorial service. Brother Rattray was a long time member of Waller Masonic Lodge #808 AF & AM. He had been a Mason for 32 years, a 32 degree Scottish Rite, a Shriner, an ex-marine and a member of the Waller Chapter of the VFW.

The temperature was in the 40s and it was drizzling rain, but the circular drive in front of the building was full of motorcycles and a bunch of scruffy looking men dressed in blue denim, black leather jackets and some also wore black leather chaps. Many of them had tattoos, ear rings, bushy beards, full mustaches and white hair and you probably wouldn’t have stopped at a bar where they were congregated. These men were lined up along the circular drive way and the main thing I noticed was that every one of them was holding an 8 foot flagpole with a big American flag. Then I remembered, I had seen them before on TV. They ride with the funerals for the fallen men and women of the U.S. Armed Services

After the service they lined up at attention with their flags on each side as Brother Rattray’s remains were carried from the funeral home and then accompanied them to the Waller cemetery.

By the time everyone got back to Waller Lodge dinning room and a huge table full of some good homemade food I had figured out who they were and why they were there. I made it a point to shake their hands, get to know them a little and personally thank them for what they were doing. I discovered that when requested they do this for fallen service personnel and veterans all over Texas and even into Louisiana

After I got home I looked them up on the internet and found the Patriot Guard Riders Web Site. I think their mission statement tells the whole story;

“The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security.

We don’t care what you ride or if you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a hawk or a dove. It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you’re from or what your income is; you don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.

Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family.

Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives.

1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.

2. Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protester or group of protesters.

We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.

To those of you who are currently serving and fighting for the freedoms of others, at home and abroad, please know that we are backing you. We honor and support you with every mission we carry out, and we are praying for a safe return home for all.

I would advise everyone to never say anything detrimental to our troops or unpatriotic in front of them. Everyone of these fellers are some kind of serious patriots and it makes me feel good to know them better.

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