Monday, August 15, 2011

Patriot Guard

Saturday was a life-changing experience for me & Jeremy. We participated in the Patriot Guard at the funeral for a 19 year old soldier from Holton. I took close to 70 pictures and I promise you, they don't do any justice to the actual event or emotion of that day. There were close to 500 people there, "leather-clad" as WIBW news stated. Most of the pictures I took were from the back of the Harley as we were riding.

We all met in the Wal-Mart parking lot. They roped off 2/3 of the parking lot for all the motorcycles. People were standing in the other 1/3 taking pictures. The staff there was wonderful. Churches had set up tables and were handing out coffee, water and cookies & brownies.

Our first stop was at the church, where we stood with American flags all up and down the streets surrounding the church 1 hour before the service. As we were going from the Wal-Mart to the church, it was amazing to see the townspeople standing on the street corners in groups waving their own American flags! Such patriotism!!

Once the service started, we were all sent to the cemetery where we stood in lines again up and down the drives and around the burial site with flags. Once the General's vehicle passed, everyone crowded up by the burial site for the remainder of the service.

As I said, the pictures don't do it justice! Imagine a sea of bikers proudly standing with our country's flag, honoring a young man who died for our freedom. It was breath taking!!

This is all the motorcycles lined up along the sides of the streets around the church.
We took up almost 6 blocks.

The above photos are everyone lining the streets around the church where the funeral was held. There were also several citizens joining with us.
We stood in silence holding the flags for about an hour.

Note the community members standing on the streets as we rode by.

I don' t know how well you can see, but we were somewhere in the middle of the line here. There are motorcycles all the way up the road as far as you can see.

By the time we got to the cemetery, riders were already lining up with their flags along the roadways throughout the cemetery.

This is the first circle of flags around the burial site.

Jeremy and I got moved down the road. You can still see the green tent in the upper right corner, where we were originally and would eventually end up.

And of course - this is the whole reason we were there...
I cried when I saw the mother wearing her son's dog tags.
Everyone who attended the funeral, and some that were riding with us, wore a black T-shirt honoring Cody Baker with jeans. Pretty cool!

I have always respected our soldiers and what they do. It was amazing to meet so many veterans who rode with us. Several from Desert Storm and other Iraq wars, but the majority of vets were from the Vietnam war. My dad and Jeremy's dad were both in the Vietnam war. It brought a whole new sense of "personal" to me. Most of the Vietnam vets said they do this because they were not treated well when they returned home from their duties and they didn't want that for anyone else - especially those who returned home in these circumstances.

After we were finished, we ate at a local cafe and people were telling us Thank You for what we had done. No. We should be thanking those who are are making the sacrifices for us to even be allowed to do what we did. Thank a soldier and a soldier's family.

Not that I want to bring any more attention to them, but we were told that Fred Phelps' group was there. We never saw them. The town only has to give them a 10x10 space and 60 minutes. After that, they are loitering and can legally be kicked out of town. I was told their 10x10 space was in a snow fence down near the hog sheds at the fair grounds.


Carrie Schreiber said...

Great pictures, Katie. The Patriot Guard was in Holton the day of Matt's cousin's funeral last fall. The patriotism was amazing and the family was SO grateful for them being there! What a great way to honor our fallen heroes.

The 5 C's said...

So very proud of you and Jeremy...Love you!

Kate said...

SO awesome. One of my former co-worker's husband is in the patriot guard down here. In fact him and a few of his friends from Mulvane were the first to start the group. He was probably there. He goes to most all of them. She rides with him too. It sends cold chills up & down whenever I see them. He was also in Vietnam and did not have a respectful homecoming. I think the Patriot Guard is so amazing. So awesome you get to be a part of it. But so sad to lose yet another soldier. Great pics. Thanks for sharing.

The Chance Family said...

Wow! That really personalizes the sacrifice. That is so sad and tragic, but you worded it so well.