Patriot Guard non-veterans

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  • Patriot Guard non-veterans

    How many PGR members do you know who are not veterans? Seems like most are and that certainly makes sense, but does that tend to alienate those who are not?
    Ron - Montrose, CO
    2018 Pearl White GL1800 DCT
    2012 Pearl White GL1800 Level 1 - Sold @ 63K miles
    I don't ride to make great time; I ride to have a great time!

  • #2
    I'm not a veteran and I have been a part of many PG missions. Have never felt any alienation from those who have served.
    The purpose is to pay honor and respect to those that have served. And that is the reason I attend.

    SBB



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    • #3
      I think that some people turned out to support the PG Missions when that loathsome group of Morons began to behave in the most contemptible and disrespectful way towards family's who were attending funerals.

      It was one of the most disrespectful things I have seen.
      GL1800 8A - TRIUMPH SCRAMBLER 900

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SBB View Post
        I'm not a veteran and I have been a part of many PG missions. Have never felt any alienation form those who have served.
        The purpose is to pay honor and respect to those that have served. And that is the reason I attend.

        SBB


        I agree SBB. There are several non-veterans who ride regularly on PGR missions here in the NJ, PA, DE area.

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        • Bama Jack
          Bama Jack commented
          Editing a comment
          In our immediate area, the majority of the PGR Members are made-up of Veterans and some Active-Duty. However, we do have a number of Non-Vets (Civilians) that participate with us........men, women and youths. Some of the Civilians don't own motorcycles so they ride in their vehicles or may become Flag-Wagons and carry all the equipment. Some Civilians just stand the Flag-Line and are not involved with the PGR Escort. All are welcome in honoring our Heros.

      • #5
        I'm not a veteran, but have attended a PGR mission. I attended with a veteran, but felt very welcome. The main thing, in my eyes, was respect. You don't have to serve to respect those who have. I'm not a fan of funerals, but felt being uncomfortable was less inconvenient than recognizing the veteran who paid the ultimate price.
        Costa Mesa, CA
        2012 RED GL1800

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        • #6
          Originally posted by glarson3 View Post
          I'm not a veteran, but have attended a PGR mission. I attended with a veteran, but felt very welcome. The main thing, in my eyes, was respect. You don't have to serve to respect those who have. I'm not a fan of funerals, but felt being uncomfortable was less inconvenient than recognizing the veteran who paid the ultimate price.
          B R A V O .. I'm a vet and I appreciate your reasoning and support. .. B R A V O !
          Watertown, CT .. Hiddenite, NC

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          • #7
            I am technically a veteran, but my Navy service was very short (medical discharge), so I seldom present myself as such (I've been reminded by a few friends that I took the oath, and I volunteered, so they say I'm a "vet".)

            I've been an active member of the PGR since 2007, and currently serve on their national staff, and have never been made to feel any less a member by those that actively served. As a matter of fact, TX state leadership and National Leadership both go out of their way to correct the media when they call the PGR a "veteran's organization".
            2012 Honda Goldwing | 2009 Timeout Camper



            Patriot Guard Rider since 2007 | IBA member #59823

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            • #8
              Thanks to all PG members and more thanks and gratitude to all who served. Nice article in the current HOG magazine on PG

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              • #9
                I'm sure I'm not the only one to experience prejudice while attending a PGR mission, and I know many non-vets that previously rode with me to some of these no longer do. Born with a spinal defect and having the first of multiple surgeries before I turned 18, I was not able to serve. By my late 20's it was stable enough that I was able to become a police officer and eventually retire from there.

                Had a computer job after the PD and would take vacation days so I could participate in PGR missions, especially when the church a$$ _oles were attending. I stood proudly with the veterans confronting those fools and honoring our fallen heroes as best we could. 100+ miles from home in upper 30 degree misting December weather to 95 degree, high humidity July weather, I rode and stood proud to be there. Thought it great fun when the state police would arrest us for assault, send the church people on their way, then un-arrest us.

                One 95 degree day when the proceedings were over they welcomed all veterans back to the American Legion for drinks and a buffet. Hot, tired and thirsty we thought it would make a good stop before heading home. As we approached the door, they asked what branch of the service we served in, when we replied we hadn't, they advised us we were not welcome inside. We thanked them and left.

                Another 90 degree day, I stood with them in a flag line at the funeral home, rode escort to the cemetery, and stood flag line there. As we were leaving, an invitation for food and drinks at the VFW, no mention of being a veteran. Since I left home at 0700 and it was now mid-afternoon, I was tired, thirsty, and hungry, sounded like a plan. As I approached the door, I was asked if I was a veteran, since I wasn't they told me I could come in for a little while to cool off but I had to sit in the corner with the children and couldn't have anything to eat or drink. A Marine vet later brought me a cup of water and apologized for their attitude.

                There were other times but I learned to never expect anything after the mission, and I was proud just to be able to honor our heroes. Dad was retired Army, my oldest son was disabled in Iraq, and I learned through them that you do not have to be a non-veteran to be disrespected. I associate with and ride with some of the local Marine Riders, even the one who hates cops. And as time and health allows I will still ride PGR missions.

                John
                Black 2008 Goldwing Level 4
                Northern Kentucky

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                • #10
                  JohnK105, I am disheartened at your negative experiences while on PGR missions. I would think an email to the KY PGR State Captain is in order and should rectify this situation in short order. Things like you describe should never happen. Anyone who participates in a PGR mission and who follows the PGR Code of Conduct should be welcome at any after-mission function also. The email for the KY State Captain is below.

                  State Captain
                  Danny 'Emmelee1' Valentine
                  [email protected]

                  The following paragraphs are from the PGR Website...

                  Our Vision
                  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 including Fallen Military Heroes, First Responders and Honorably Discharged Veterans. 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 protestor or group of protestors.
                  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.



                  The two instances you mentioned took place at a VFW, so perhaps it's their rule and not the PGR's rule that precluded you from the after-mission activities. But either way, the KY State Captain should know about this IMO. Good luck and thank you for honoring our Heroes!

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                  • #11
                    I signed up to join the Texas Patriot Guard about 3 1/2 years ago. Never heard a word from the Texas leadership or regional chapter. I've forgotten now but I think I emailed them and asked about activities and notification and was ignored again.

                    Apparently they already had plenty of members. I wrote again and told them to forget me, I changed my mind.
                    Harvey Barlow
                    Crosby County, TX
                    2010 Goldwing Level II Pearl Yellow (sold at 93,000 miles)
                    2014 Goldwing Level II Pearl Blue (sold at 27,000 miles to forum member)

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                    • #12
                      It saddens me to read about the problems you two had. I'm going to offer some information, but please note, this is not offered in any official capacity. I serve on the staff of the National PGR, but my duties consist of providing technical support for the PGR store web site, and in no way represent any official information.

                      That said, I've been a member of the PGR since early 2007, about a year and half after they initially formed; and I have some insight on how things are done, and how they've evolved. Some of this will sound like I'm making excuses (and I may be, but sometimes excuses are valid); and some of it may not really offer any real help, but I'll do my best.

                      First of all, the PGR is completely a volunteer organization. There are no paid staff members, officers, or ride leaders. All are volunteers. I can attest first hand that anyone in any leadership or staff position gives a heavy amount of personal time for that service. Just like any organization anywhere, some of the staff and leaders are less then perfect, and may make mistakes. When that happens (and it's even happend to me!), I ask that those involved remember the real purpose of the organization - to honor our veterans. Sometimes, that means shrugging our shoulders and accepting that mistakes are sometimes made, and carrying on.

                      JohnK105
                      What happened to you in those two instances should not have happened. I cannot attest to what would be done in Kentucky; but in Texas a mention to the ride captain for the mission, or to the state leadership would be appropriate as Wingleader09 indicated. An invitation given at a mission should never be exclusive, and my suspicion is that the ride captains did not realize that those invitations would be so. I've attended multiple PGR events where we were invited to both American Legions and VFWs, and never were there regular "admission requirements" enforced, for those events.

                      HBarlow
                      Your situation hopefully was a misunderstanding. The PGR has no "chapters", but they do have state leadership with defined areas of leadership. In Texas, because of the large number of members and the large area, the state is divided into several such regions. Unfortunately, the panhandle area is spread out, and has far less activity than the DFW area (where I'm active), so you may have gotten lost in the shuffle. Depending on who you emailed, it's possible that both requests went to a wrong email address, or it could be someone simply dropped the ball and messed up. Either way, I hope you'd give them another chance. If you have any interest at all in "changing your mind again", please let me know and I'll put you in touch with both the Texas State Captain and the Deputy Captain for the panhandle/plains region.

                      It's also worth noting for both of you, there is no requirement to ask permission or wait to be invited. If you hear of a PGR mission, either from announcements on the national PGR web site (www.patriotguard.org), a regional or state website, or even an announcement in the paper; simply show up ready to participate. Look for a ride leader (typically wearing a maroon PGR logo cap) and let them know your new, and that you want to be added to the local mail list. They'll add you and give you the information needed for participation.
                      2012 Honda Goldwing | 2009 Timeout Camper



                      Patriot Guard Rider since 2007 | IBA member #59823

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                      • HBarlow
                        HBarlow commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Thanks for the explanation. I've been a member and president of classic car and rv clubs in the past and understand how elected officials change in such organizations. Some are eager and take care of business. Occasionally the elected leader is a slug and fails to carry out his/her duties.

                        I would like to communicate with state leaders and get my name on someone's notification list for future ride events. I'm not sure how many funeral rides I could participate in but would like to have the opportunity to join on occasion.

                        As you stated, the Panhandle Region of Texas is vast, populated by several large cities and many small towns separated by hundreds of miles of "scenery." Even Lubbock, the closest city, is about 50 miles distant.

                    • #13
                      Originally posted by JohnK105 View Post
                      I'm sure I'm not the only one to experience prejudice while attending a PGR mission, and I know many non-vets that previously rode with me to some of these no longer do. Born with a spinal defect and having the first of multiple surgeries before I turned 18, I was not able to serve. By my late 20's it was stable enough that I was able to become a police officer and eventually retire from there.

                      Had a computer job after the PD and would take vacation days so I could participate in PGR missions, especially when the church a$$ _oles were attending. I stood proudly with the veterans confronting those fools and honoring our fallen heroes as best we could. 100+ miles from home in upper 30 degree misting December weather to 95 degree, high humidity July weather, I rode and stood proud to be there. Thought it great fun when the state police would arrest us for assault, send the church people on their way, then un-arrest us.

                      One 95 degree day when the proceedings were over they welcomed all veterans back to the American Legion for drinks and a buffet. Hot, tired and thirsty we thought it would make a good stop before heading home. As we approached the door, they asked what branch of the service we served in, when we replied we hadn't, they advised us we were not welcome inside. We thanked them and left.

                      Another 90 degree day, I stood with them in a flag line at the funeral home, rode escort to the cemetery, and stood flag line there. As we were leaving, an invitation for food and drinks at the VFW, no mention of being a veteran. Since I left home at 0700 and it was now mid-afternoon, I was tired, thirsty, and hungry, sounded like a plan. As I approached the door, I was asked if I was a veteran, since I wasn't they told me I could come in for a little while to cool off but I had to sit in the corner with the children and couldn't have anything to eat or drink. A Marine vet later brought me a cup of water and apologized for their attitude.

                      There were other times but I learned to never expect anything after the mission, and I was proud just to be able to honor our heroes. Dad was retired Army, my oldest son was disabled in Iraq, and I learned through them that you do not have to be a non-veteran to be disrespected. I associate with and ride with some of the local Marine Riders, even the one who hates cops. And as time and health allows I will still ride PGR missions.

                      John

                      John - you were treated like crap by the VFW post - there is absolutely no excuse for how they treated you. There was a VFW post right next to my fuels testing lab where I worked. they had open arms for members, veterans and anyone who supported the vets. Same for others I've been at. There were different prices for members/non-members,at the various lodges but I agree with that.

                      And the other members of the PGR should have stepped up for you also. No excuse. I have not seen any animosity towards non-vets in PGR missions. Nor would I tolerate any.

                      Needless to say hearing something like this ticks me off. Remind me if we ever run across each other (figuratively, not literally) about this and I will personally shake your hand and buy you a cold one. And please accept my thanks for being part of the PGR.

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                      • #14
                        Originally posted by hparsons View Post

                        It's also worth noting for both of you, there is no requirement to ask permission or wait to be invited. If you hear of a PGR mission, either from announcements on the national PGR web site (www.patriotguard.org), a regional or state website, or even an announcement in the paper; simply show up ready to participate. Look for a ride leader (typically wearing a maroon PGR logo cap) and let them know your new, and that you want to be added to the local mail list. They'll add you and give you the information needed for participation.
                        H Parsons, you nailed it.
                        I get the mission notices by email, I go when I can. I just show up and have always been welcomed. I go to give/show respect, making friends with others involved in the mission is a bonus. But just like the real world bonuses are extra, respect is a given.

                        SBB




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                        • #15
                          I only posted my comment because of the OP's post and wanting to make sure that any non-vets went in with their eyes open to what they may encounter. What I ran into I considered to be extremely rare based on my encounters with veterans through the years. Like anything else, you can always find one or two that cast a negative light on many. When my oldest returned from Iraq, the CSM at the VFW where the party was held made everyone in attendance feel welcome. This is the experience I have had through the years, so I was surprised to encounter the unwelcome at a few locations.

                          I also noticed that sometimes you would go on a PGR mission, only to run into a veteran later that was also there. They were always appreciative to find that the civilian ranks were also supporting their efforts and honoring our fallen heroes.

                          HParsons, if I remember correctly when I joined the PGR in 2005, missions were not always emailed in a timely manner but were posted in a secure area on their web site. I believe this was done in an effort to keep the Westboro idiots from knowing what kind of numbers they might encounter at a specific funeral. Living in N.KY., I took note of missions in KY, as well as OH and IN, and just attended as time allowed, only notifying the ride captains if they needed to know how many would be needing flags or bringing their own. So go ahead and sign up, check your emails and the site as you desire, attend the missions as time permits.

                          Black 2008 Goldwing Level 4
                          Northern Kentucky

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                          • #16
                            Originally posted by SBB View Post

                            H Parsons, you nailed it.
                            I get the mission notices by email, I go when I can. I just show up and have always been welcomed. I go to give/show respect, making friends with others involved in the mission is a bonus. But just like the real world bonuses are extra, respect is a given.

                            SBB




                            I get emails and a text message to go to the webpage to see missions.
                            DS#1146 IBA#55800 50CC,BBG, BB1500 x2, SS2K, SS1Kx3 CERTIFIED ALL DS, PGR RC
                            2010 Level3 Endeavor Reverse Trike

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                            • #17
                              Different areas do it different ways. I've been pushing for all of the various regions to adopt using standardized RSS systems, which the national board could then aggregate. It's hard to get changes made though.
                              2012 Honda Goldwing | 2009 Timeout Camper



                              Patriot Guard Rider since 2007 | IBA member #59823

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                              • #18
                                Originally posted by hparsons View Post
                                Different areas do it different ways. I've been pushing for all of the various regions to adopt using standardized RSS systems, which the national board could then aggregate. It's hard to get changes made though.
                                Here in the NJ, NY, PA, DE area, a group email is sent out to everyone who asks to be placed on the mailing list.

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                                • #19
                                  I was very new to motorcycling and the club that I was riding with at the time, was asked to participate in what was one of the first here in Maryland. It was than that I first heard of the Westboro outfit. There was no question that I wanted to be a part of it. What an honor, and yet I quickly found the opposite of what some have described here. I quickly found myself being mistaken for a veteran, and that was very uncomfortable and awkward for me. I only participated in that one, but what a moment in time to help support a local fallen hero and their family.
                                  __________________________________________________ __________

                                  Why sweat the leg thing when I can still ride a Goldwing
                                  Member of the Hann-Amigo Trio

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