Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I've said it before and I'll say it again here at the Oread Daily we (and or me) try to make a distinction between the war and the soldiers who fight it.

Kids go off to war for any number of reasons.

I can't imagine any come home exactly the same way they left.

They are stuck in situations hardly any reading the Oread Daily can even imagine. They have to make decisions we don't have to face. They pay a price few of us can ever understand.

Those who die leave behind families filled with grief, with love, many with pride, some with anger, all with unanswered questions.

There have to some (besides a plethora of chickenhawks and tough talking politicos who somehow never found a way to actually fight in the wars they drum up) there for these men and women who do offer up their lives in battles not of their own making.

Today I give you the Patriot Guard, a group made up largely of motorcycle riding Americans who have made it their mission to see that these men and women are not forgotten and too insulate their families from the likes of those creeps out of Topeka, Kansas who get off by displaying their vile selves at funerals.

It's important to note, as Roland "Bogie" Boguszewski of Bradley, Illinois says in the article below, the Patriot Guard don't care if you're a hawk or a dove, rich or poor, vet or not, biker or walker, "The only prerequisite," Bogie says, "is respect."

I know a guy who rides his bike to guard funerals out here on the plains. He isn't pro war. He isn't a leftie. He is just a working guy, an ordinary American, not out to make a political statement, just out to do what he believes is right.

Can't fault a fellow for that.

It is not the title I might have chosen but the article below is from the Daily Journal in Kankakee, Illinois.

Patriot Guard all about respect for military
By Robert Themer

The cremated remains of World War I Pvt. Herman Tietke, of Morris, were placed in their final resting place Friday.

More than 50 attended the lost doughboy's services, with 25 Patriot Guard motorcycles and 10 vans, cars and trucks parked nearby, most flying or carrying American flags and the black-on-yellow Patriot Guard flags with the motto "Riding with Respect" and banners saying "Standing for Those Who Stood for Us."

Started in August 2005 by American Legion Riders Chapter 136 in Mulvane, Kan., to combat disruptions of military funerals by religious zealots, the Patriot Guards reported over 138,000 members nationwide at the end of April.

They are summoned to missions by e-mail. Patriot Guard groups were at three services simultaneously at the cemetery on Friday and another was expected, said Roland "Bogie" Boguszewski of Bradley, Missing in America coordinator for Illinois.

The guards have three types of missions:

* To attend funerals of fallen veterans at the request of the families, showing respect and shielding the mourners from would-be protesters;

* Welcome-home parades for returning military and send-off for those being deployed; and

* Help on the Homefront activities in support of military families.

Motorcycle riders are predominant in the Patriot Guard, but nonriders are welcome. Most members are military veterans, but that isn't required, either.

Respect for those who serve in the military is the common denominator.

"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," Bogie said. "It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you're from or what your income is. The only prerequisite is respect."

Dennis Benge, of rural Manteno, who served in the Marines in Vietnam, has been on about 50 Patriot Guard missions in two years.

Friday's turnout "was pretty good, considering it was a weekday," he said. "I've done welcome-homes when there were 130-140 people."

Most of Friday's riders came from surrounding communities, but one was from Galesburg, he said. "They come from a long ways a lot of times."

Benge usually rides for missions in Northern Illinois, but good weather can find him in a Southern Illinois event.

Benge hasn't encountered funeral protesters. Bogie has -- at Naperville and Danville, the latter after Illinois passed a law restricting protests at military funerals. "They were scattered out every 100 yards or so with signs like "God hates soldiers" and so forth," he said. "We got guards riding at both sides of the hearse and family cars and protected the family from seeing them. We tried to make them invisible."

Bogie, a member for two years, isn't a veteran. His father was a World War II vet and two of his and Janet's children are in the military now.

Benge spent four years active in the Marines and 23 more in the Reserves.

"I'm retired now and 90 percent of what I do is with veterans," he said. He's on the board of the Kankakee County Veterans Assistance Commission and the advisory council of the Illinois Veterans Home at Manteno. He's sergeant at arms of both the Marine Corps League in Kankakee, which does honor guards, and the Leathernecks of Northern Illinois.

"I have five veterans meetings a month, plus these missions."

The other 10 percent of his time? Marine Corps annual Toys for Tots Christmas campaign.

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