Saturday, January 7, 2012

Weekend Worship—Angels on Guard

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:

  1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.
  2. 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.


  1. This is wonderful, Eddie! It was a day We will always remember. It did really Thunder today in Simpsonville!
    Thank you for putting it in words!
    Anne Kellett

  2. Thank you, Anne! I wish I could have described the sound of the motors from inside the church - it was as though God Himself was warning those with ill intent to stay away.

  3. It was purely amazing. Like you, I could not stand the thought of family and friends having to endure any more trauma than what they were already facing. I hope all of you were comforted by then thousands of people and flags that lined the routes.

  4. Beautiful tribute! My heart welled with pride and tears at the sea of support for our fallen hero. When I heard about the protest I read about this "church" only to discover that it was mostly composed of all members of one family and that they numbered less that 50. They were well out numbered by the Patriot Guard and according to the news they were not present! They truly are "angels on guard" and I commend them for their respect, honor and patriotism. I too will never look at riders the same way again.

  5. It was an honor to be there showing my support. Thank you for all you did to help support and protect that dear family yesterday.

  6. The protesters were present, but few noticed them. Here's what channel 4 said, "a group of protesters were scheduled to be at the funeral, but we were unable to verify their presence." Praise God for those willing to honor a fallen hero!

  7. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this. It was an amazing experience for me that I will never forget. Riding in the funeral precession through the 1000's of flags and well-wishers was so overwhelming that I couldn't contain my emotions. It was a beautiful worship service and celebration of Justin in such a befitting way. And isn't it wonderful knowing there are good people in this world who do care about others? So grateful for the Guard. Thanks for sharing this, my friend.

  8. As you know, we live a block from the church. The Patriots rolled past our house with an incredible roar. People drove by before and during the funeral with flags flying high out their windows. It was a day that will not soon be forgotten.

  9. Being a military brat and so proud of Dad's service, this is near and dear to my heart. Thanks, Edie.

  10. Beautiful, Edie. So sorry for your loss, but very thankful for this group of angels who protected your community. God's hand covers all of you.

  11. I was there and so happy to see such a beautiful day and support for the family. And soooo happy the protestors did not show. This child was/is a hero

  12. I am so glad to hear this Hero's family was protected! Thank you Lord for Patriot Guard!

  13. I had no idea such a group existed, but what a powerful presence! So thankful the families have a courageous force standing guard. Amazing.