The Patriot Guard Riders is a organized all volunteer, non-profit group, committed to supporting fallen warriors as they return home. Their mission statement reads as follows:
Patriot Guard Riders Mission Statement
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. If you share this respect, please join us.
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:
- Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.
- Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.
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.
Recently the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) were invited to welcome home the body of Sgt. Christopher Gailey of BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma. In an article published by News on 6, Oklahoma’s Own, it was noted that a Starbucks Store manager, asked that The PGR leave their parking lot. In retaliation,protesters then began a protest against Starbucks, calling for a boycott of the coffee distributors business.
As a active member of the PGR, I GET IT! Someone please tell me one thing that could be wrong with any organization welcoming home our fallen soldiers.
Starbucks, (more precisely) this particular store manager, asked the PGR to leave the parking lot. Right or wrong, they have the right to do so. And the PGR, standing behind their mission statement, departed without incident. Starbucks has since issued a statement of apology for the action of the manager. That part of the case is now closed.
Then enter the famous (infamous) Westboro Baptist Church, calling for a demonstration of their own at the funeral of Sgt. Gailey.
When we look at the mission statement of the PGR we see in Section 2 of their main mission, it is to; Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protester or group of protesters.
When was it that as a country we have crossed a line that separates what is legally right (our right to protest) and morally right (our need to show respect)?
Westboro Baptist Church claims that it is the will of God that strikes down our soldiers in response to the “gay lifestyle” in America, and that as a country, we are also doomed by his wrath.
I have to admit that I don’t spend very much time questioning the Will of God. But having been in a war or two in my time, I do understand how wars work… PEOPLE DIE. And not just Americans. Assuming that Westboro is right, that God invokes his wrath on the sinners of the world by killing soldiers, he is taking out a lot of anger on a lot of countries. I guess for each country he might have a different reason. Westboro just happens to be God’s Ear and knows that it is for homosexuality in America.
But does Westboro have the right to show up at funerals and disrupt the most solemn times for families? Under the US Constitution? Yes, they have a right to make known their position, when and where they see fit. Morally? NO!
PGR leaves no doubt about why they are there. To shield families from the idiots at Westboro Baptist. I don’t get how the supreme court has seen fit to think that our founding fathers, would support the acts of terrorist, (yes I said TERRORIST) who cannot find a decent way to make their message known.
Could it be that Franklin, Hancock and Jefferson meant for the outright disrespect to the dead to be tolerated? Could they in fact turn a blind eye to the masses, as fallen soldiers and their families are disrespected in God’s name? I think not. Through any and all protest, for all causes, there MUST be some level of respect.
Good News! Westboro Baptist is the minority… Actually a Super Minority. They get plenty of press only because of their idiotic message of hate and all of us that join together against that message. Their following doesn’t get any stronger, no one sheds a tear when the PGR blocks them from funerals. (Except tears of joy for PGR’s stand against Westboro)
So everyone, stop with the call to boycott Starbucks. You want to protest something? Go to Westboro Baptist Church, 3701 W. 12th Street in Topeka, KS, at noon on any Sunday. Set off fireworks, play loud music on the stereos, have a Family Reunion on the front lawn. Make some noise. Remember, The US Supreme Court said it was OK.
Oh, and all you Occupy Kansas folks, I know where you can hang out and pee on the lawn… just sayin’.
Have a great day America