Patriotism runs deep in most motorcycle clubs and organizations, but few exhibit the patriotic committment of the Patriot Guard Riders. On this warm fall day, a group of Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) post the colors at a military funeral at the North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetery south of Mandan.
These moments often happen during the middle of the day during the middle of the week. Even so, when the call is put out to station a flag line at an event, you can expect a couple dozen riders to leave work, or schedule their day to be on hand. Their mission is to show the respect and honor of military personnel at military events, departures and arrivals of troops and of course at funerals.
What began as a response to the hate protests of the Westboro Baptist Church, to shield grieving families from the protesters, expanded in to a full bore show of support and respect for America and her fighting men and women. No laws, no rules, no government involvement could have produced the expanding results that the Patriot Guard Riders have accomplished. More than respond to protesters, the movement has grown to be a full-fledged military support group in many ways — from helping veterans at home to a quiet display of America’s red white and blue.
In this case, the PGR gathered at a nearby supermarket parking lot and waited for the appointed hour. They mounted their 3×5 flags to their bikes and rode staggered parade formation from Mandan, south along Highway 1806 to the cemetery. They parked their bikes out of the way and stood in position during the entire interment ceremony.
When it was done, they mounted up and quietly rode off; well, as quiet as two dozen motorcycles can be.