If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:9-11
I will never hear the rumble of a motorcycle again without remembering today.
Today was the funeral service of Army Medic, Private First Class, Justin Whitmire. He was killed by an IED on December 27, 2011. He was barely 20 years old and graduated high school in 2010 with my middle son.
While none of us was looking forward to the service today, our anxiety was increased by advance knowledge of the protesters who announced they would be present. The mindset of people who think they are doing anything productive by harassing families struck by tragedy is beyond me. I know, no matter whom they claim to represent, they are nothing more than ignorant hate-mongers. But my heart ached at the thought of this brave family enduring anything additional on this day.
Then we found out the Patriot Guard would be on duty.
This amazing organization has banded together to stand, as a wall of avenging angels, between the family and those who seek to harm them. I could try to explain their mission, but it’s most aptly stated in the mission statement found on their website.
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 or if 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.
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:
- Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.
- Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protester or group of protesters.
We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.
To those of you who are currently serving and fighting for the freedoms of others, at home and abroad, please know that we are backing you. We honor and support you with every mission we carry out, and we are praying for a safe return home for all.
Outside the church, they surrounded the mourners, standing at attention and shielding them from all uninvited interlopers. Their respectful silence said it all. These men and women travel hundreds of miles to show the respect of a grateful nation...and the provision of God.