2 photo by Richard Gwin, reprinted with permission of Lawrence Journal-World
3 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, 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.
4 Patriot Guard Riders Mission Statement 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. Protect the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors. We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.
9 Patriot Guard Riders(PGR) History It all started back in early August of 2005 with the American Legion Riders Chapter 136 from Kansas. They were appalled to hear that a fallen hero’s memory was being tarnished by misguided religious zealots who were protesting at funerals. They decided to do something about it. At the ALR 136 August meeting, to form a committee to strategize and form a battle plan to combat Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.
10 Patriot Guard Riders(PGR) History When they heard that the WBC was going to protest at the Funeral of Sgt. John Doles in Chelsea, Oklahoma, they established a Mission Statement, which included getting the families permission and contacting Law Enforcement and other Motorcycle Groups in Oklahoma. They agreed that their ultimate goal was to get veterans and motorcycle organizations involved in every state so that each state could handle the situation internally and not rely on other states to do the job. They were very successful in mustering riders to honor Sgt. Doles and limiting the intrusion by the WBC.
11 Patriot Guard Riders(PGR) History After the Chelsea Mission the Kansas American Legion Riders wanted all Motorcycle Groups/ Organizations to be recognized. On the 18th of Oct. 2005 the Patriot Guard name was established and was announced on the 27th of October, 2005, to the 100 + motorcyclists present at the Tonganoxie Mission to Honor SPC Lucas Frantz. As of January 31, 2006, over 5400 members, representing every state.
12 Warning Some of the information and photographs that follow may be disturbing. However, it is important to note these to help understand the events that triggered the formation of the Patriot Guard Riders.
13 Actions by Uninvited Guests (Protesters) (prior to Funeral) Virulent, Insulting Letters delivered to Family of Deceased Service Member Demonstrating / Picketing Funeral Home during Visitation
15 Actions by Protesters (at Funeral / Memorial Service) Upside-Down American Flag Insulting Picket Signs –“Too Late to Pray” –“You’re Going To Hell” –“Don’t Pray for the USA” –“Fag Soldiers” –“Fag Marines” –“God is Your Enemy” –“Thank God for IEDs” –“Thank God for Dead Soldiers” –“Don’t Worship the Dead” –Stick-Figure Signs with Text
18 Actions by Protesters (at Funeral / Memorial Service) Vulgar Inflammatory Comments and Heckling Insulting Lyrics to Patriotic Songs –Star Spangled Banner –God Bless America –America the Beautiful
19 Patriot Guard Riders Methods Honor to the service of the soldier and respect for the Family is foremost Only if Requested by Family –Nearest Coordinator (State Captain) will make contact with Family. NOT counter-protesters –Guests of Family Closely coordinated with Law Enforcement Officers –Welcomed in most communities
20 Patriot Guard Rider Methods Absolutely no Physical Contact Turn Backs on Protesters Blocking the View –Flags –Banners –Sheer Numbers of People From 50 to over 400
21 photo by Richard Gwin, reprinted with permission of Lawrence Journal-World
25 Patriot Guard Rider Methods Recitation of Pledge of Allegiance Patriotic Music –Recorded –Singing Motorcycles –Numbers of motorcycles have grown from around 50 to over 200 per mission
26 Community Reactions Disdain and Disbelief of the Callousness of the Uninvited Guests (Protesters) PGR invited to escort funeral procession to burial site Meeting with family Many family members have joined PGR
31 Patriot Guard Riders To learn more about or to join PGR: –www.patriotguard.orgwww.patriotguard.org –Sign up online No membership fees or dues –Supported by donations –Sales from PGR store –Click on ads on website Show support for our brave men and women in uniform and their families.