Patriot Guard Ride Monday .........
Got to ride and stand with the PGR yesterday morning in Kokomo for U.S. Army Sgt Rickey Jones' funeral.
You may or may not be aware of the local hatred exhibited towards the family in the form of vandalism (eggs on the house and stolen flag's) and harassing, obscene (Glad He's dead) phone calls last week. http://tinyurl.com/gen2h
Coupled with the announcement that the Phelps Family Circus, (with Fred Hissef') would be making an appearance at the funeral, it seemed like the right thing to do.
Glad I went. The PGR and several other groups were there in huge numbers. Well over 100 bikes. One media report I saw estimated 200. I lost track trying to count 'em, but I can believe 200 w/o any problem. Lots of folks showed up in cars and trucks too.
FLAGS!! It was beautiful. Hundreds of flags and riders all up the drive and around the entire lot.
As you can see from the photos, the weather was lousy. Just above freezing at 33 degrees. The roads were wet, but not to slippery overall. I worked till 3:30am Monday morning and went straight home and got the gear on for the ride. It was about 40+ and misty when I left home, but got progressively colder the further North I went.
I stopped on the North side of Indy to get some coffee and warm up a bit and several riders pulled up and we rode the last 25 miles together, picking up small groups along the way. About 20 of us ended up riding to the staging area at the local High School.
The Phelps Family was a noshow. They may be Bastard Rat, MoFo, Lawyers - Wait, that's redundant isn't it? But they're smart enough to know when to stay away. With the BS that had gone on last week, things were a bit tense around Kokomo. I don't think there would have been any problems even if they had showed.
The PGR folks were all cool and professional and the Law enforcement groups (State, County and Local) had everything under control and organized nicely.
The legislators passed a bill last week limiting what, and how close protestors can be, along w/ increasing the penalty to felony status for disruptions. Now the PGR would be liable under the same statute if they misbehaved, but everyone was focused on doing the right thing and not bashing the Phelps' so I don't think it would have mattered.
If you look at the pictures you'll see the fog got so thick during our time at the funeral site, no one would have been able to see a protestor anyway. The State Police had a nice, out of the way spot set up for them, where they could protest - or whatever the hell it is they do - safely. Very well set up, within the legal bounds of the law, but out of the main flow of traffic to effectively make them a nonfactor. The Fog would have made them virtually invisible.
It's pretty funny that the Fog began to lift as soon as the service ended.
I didn't make the last leg of the ride past the Burial site and on to the American Legion. I'd been up for 24 hours by then and was frozen already. I hauled ass South and homeward after the Service.
It was a long day, but immensely gratifying to support the Family of this Hero.
Here's a link to a very nicely done photo tribute by the local media:
Some Pictures here: http://tinyurl.com/j48zn
And here: http://www.marineriders.org/kokomo_1