Friday, July 10, 2009

Fallen Heroes

When I bought my bike last year I thought I might do something in opposition to the over publicized, protected speech of a group of religious nut jobs. I would be willing to test the righteousness of their claims with trial by combat, even though that is a little out of style.
I finally decided on the Patriot Guard. I signed up and never got a notification of a need in the area.

That all changed yesterday.

I am now a member of the Red Knights, who rode escort for an area firefighter who was killed in Iraq. We were told there was a very slight chance some of those nut jobs might show up to spread their hatred. No one wanted to miss that.

Luckily, none showed their ugly faces. I did get to see the out pouring of emotion by my entire community for a firefighter, by people who didn’t even know him.

It was said by one of the Patriot Guard Riders, “the fire service really knows how to send off one of their own.” Several of these men rode hundreds of miles to stand with us. We appreciated them very much.

The forecast was suitably gloomy to fit the occasion, a soft rain becoming a downpour occasionally. The local departments raised a forty foot American Flag between two tower trucks on the road in front of the church. A dozen pieces of apparatus joined the escort. Every branch of the military was amply represented. The officers and men of his unit made certain that one drop of rain would not touch the widow or her family. The flag line and honor guard stood uncomplaining, in the rain, for three hours, to do honor to our brother. The police made sure the procession was not delayed.

The local people stood by the road, in the rain, and held American Flags, to show their respect for a man they had never met. They stopped their cars and got out to wave tiny dash board flags, and hold their hands over their hearts.

The family was visibly moved by the honor done their loved one.

The graveside service, in our National Cemetery, included full military honors, the bagpipe corps, and the ringing of the bell for his “last call”.

Thank God for the rain, or a lot of tough guys would have tarnished their image.

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