Good for you Jay. Sorry I don't have any info for you...I was sitting around thinking of a way i could show my respect for our fallen soldier's. So i joined the Patriot Gaurd today. My questions are who on here has joined and what are the rides like? What am i to expect when on a "mission"?
Thanks in advance.
This might sound like a stupid question, but is it mandatory to have the flag in the back on a mission?Hello Jay... congrats on your intentions.
I've been a PGR member for quite some time now with dozens of missions, even though I have to ride 100 miles each way to attend. I'm sure being in Jersey, you've got things happening right around you so it shouldn't be that difficult to make the missions.
Go to the PGR site for all the details and missions across the country. you can join PGR there, then search around the site for your own local chapter and email the leadership of your joining. They'll put you on their mailing list.
Each mission is different, as said above, because the guard plans it around the schedule and desires of the family involved. An average mission will ask you to show up at a meeting place about half an hour before they are due at the church, airport, military base, etc. so that new people can be recognized and everyone gets briefed on how the mission will go down... and a safety briefing and often a prayer and some information about the deceased.
The group then mounts up and rides together to the church or funeral home and sets up a flag line at the entrance. They then take a break until time for the funeral to exit, and then they form a flag line again. Then they mount up and accompany the hearse to the burial site and then form a flag line, participating in the military portion of the funeral... saluting and honoring the fallen hero.
Often after the ceremonies members of the family or the military or the police come up and shake the PGR members hands and thank them... and each of them says "It's my distinct privilege sir, to honor this hero... no thanks is needed." Or something similar, or often just a nod and a smile.
As you will see in the over 500 videos on youtube, it's very hard to keep your eyes dry at one of these missions.
The Patriot Guard riders also have sendoffs for large groups leaving, welcome homes, charity rides and they stick together when one of their members crashes or falls ill. They'll keep your hospital room busy visiting you.
Each district and each group is different because they all have different leadership. Some do very few funerals because they don't get the word out to the media about what they do. Some don't do sendoffs or welcome homes for one reason or another.
The overwhelming sentiment in any group is that whatever hardships the members go through, it's nothing compared to the sacrifice of the fallen hero... no mission is for the members, it's entirely for the hero and his/her family.
Oh and Seadog, Though I've never seen a single protester at the missions, the Westboro Baptist Church is still active in their apparently misguided abuse of people who allow homosexuality to exist... I've never understood how they equate this with military funerals. There's some about that on youtube as well.
Good luck and God bless your endeavors.