The Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) is located throughout the United States with now over 220,000 members.
The original members started the organization after the Westboro Baptist Church protesters started attending funerals of fallen soldiers at the cemetery. Their rants were claim that the deaths of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are “divine retribution” for American tolerance of homosexuality. The PGR formed a wall of motorcyclists between the protesters and the families of the fallen soldier at the cemetery so that the families could not hear the demonstrations. As demonstrations gradually grew so did the amount of motorcyclists attending these funerals. Their lines formed and they revved their motorcycles or sang patriotic songs to drown out the noise from the protesters.
Since then the PGR now attends funerals of US armed forces members, firefighters, and police at the invitation of the deceased’s family. They have met the airplane carrying the body of the soldier at airports, to see the troops off or to welcome them back home. The PGR will meet the fallen soldier with the hearse at the airport and escort them to the funeral home. At the funeral home, on the day of the wake, the PGR will stand guard in formation on each side of the sidewalk at the entrance to the funeral home each holding an American flag while one guard opens the doors for visitors that enter or exits the building. On the day of the funeral the guards will form the same line at the funeral home. When the casket comes out after the service the PGR members stand at attention and give a respectful slow salute at attention until the casket has been placed in the hearse and the doors are closed. The escort starts out with the funeral director’s car leading the entourage of motorcycles some with 3 x 5 American flags mounted on the back of their bikes all with the emergency lights on and the passenger foot pegs down as respect for the fallen soldier. They are then followed by the hearse, family and friends to the cemetery. At the cemetery the PGR stands at attention at the rear of the hearse in two lines and presents a slow salute as the hearse door is opened and the casket is removed and carried to its final resting place above the grave. There a final prayer is said by the pastor or priest and a military presence is there from service that the deceased served with and they perform a typical full military ceremony that includes the 21 gun salute while the bugler plays taps, removal of the flag that had been draped across the casket, folding of the flag & presentation of the flag to the mother, spouse or family members. The PGR will stand guard until the family and friends leave to return to their vehicles then they will stand down and be dismissed.
There are no fees to join the PGR. All you need to do is to go to the PGR web site and follow the instructions. I encourage the vets at BTC to join and I believe that your support and involvement would be of value.