Sunday, May 31, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
These missions are just so good for your soul. The sheer joy and raw emotion you see with the families can just take your breath away. The lines of families while they are being dismissed must be what the land grab races must have looked like in Kansas.... everyone pressed up against the line but not daring to cross it.... then bursting across it when they can. Interesting to watch.. the soldiers, before they see their families, shake their buddies hands one more time.
We had fun tonight letting kids sit on the bikes, blow the horns, and even rev them up. The kids will never remember our names but hopefully as the years go by they will remember the bikers who were there to meet Dad and allow us a bit more room on the entrance ramp. Meeting Pastor Chuck's son was a cool "cherry topping" to the evening.
There are more from this unit who are returning home in July. They are attached to the Marines as Medical support. God Bless you men and women.
Kudos to Rick Williams (SE Metro RC) and CPT Martin who did an excellent job handling every change that came along... high five guys!
We move from the joyous to serious this weekend with the Remember the Fallen Tributes. Attend one to understand what our core mission is. I saw a lot names this last weekend I remembered standing for.
I can never say this enough. It is a honor to be a member of the organization. It is also my distinct honor and pleasure to stand next to all of you. I am so proud of what you do and your willingness to sacrifice your evening at a moments notice.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but Posts and comrades will, in their own way, arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
We are organized, Comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers sailors and Marines, who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead? We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security, is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains, and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledge to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon the Nation's gratitude—the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.
II. It is the purpose of the Commander in Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this Order effective.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
We finished today the first of 7 weekends remembering our fallen. We combined that with a Welcome Home for approximately 200 soldiers returning from Iraq.
I am tired.
I am feeling very fulfilled.
We trekked all over the expanse of Fort Snelling National Cemetery visiting our fallen since 2001. We silently stood as Sailor Doc read his statement.... we watched the flowers being placed at the headstone, we stood attention while taps were played, and many of us cried silent tears while hugging family members once again.
Two presentations stood out.
For Nicholas Turcotte his battle buddies came today because they could not be there for his funeral. For those who were in uniform we had the opportunity today to reassure them he was taken care of.
For Josh Lund it was watching his family, who ride with us as PGR members often, present the flowers to their son. And then Dave Lund told us his favorite story about Josh.
I learned today what the coins left on a headstone mean. I had no idea. Sailor Doc described it as a sign to family the grave site had been visited. He said the legend of the denominations is; A penny you means you visited, a nickel means you trained with him, and dime means you served with him, and a quarter means you were there with him when he was killed. I was proud to leave some coins today to honor our fallen. The money is collected at some point and used to help maintain the cemetery.
You have six more weekends to choose from to attend these ceremonies and I urge to attend one if you can. Honoring the fallen is why we are here and the core of our mission. It mattered to a family if they were there. At a very personal level it mattered to me to be there. It helped renew my commitment to this mission.
Sailor Doc and the Minnesota Platoon. Thank you.
And all this balanced out by the honor of watching families excited by the return of their soldiers after one year of being gone from home on deployment.
We, as members of the Minnesota Patriot Guard, have the best jobs in the world. I would not trade it for anything!
Added after some thought....
Being in the MN Patriot Guard has no requirements which allows people the freedom of choice as to what they do. They have no set duties or expectations made of them. They can do what they feel a passion for or what they have time to do.
The members of this organization who choose to be very active work really hard. Our organization is not built on events or special occasions. It has been built on being involved supporting our military 52 weeks a year. In all kinds of weather and under any and all circumstances.
Nothing of what we do together is glamorous. It takes special people who are willing to show up at a moments notice, accept no expressions of gratitude, and quietly melt away when it is over.
Even though we often don't know the names of these special people.. we do recognize them by face and bike/cage. It matters to who ever we are there to honor that someone show up and show they care. I am always humbled by the members of the MN Patriot Guard and lengths they go to show that care.
Thank you for being there 52 weeks a year and I salute you. We are nothing without you.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Our mission and event activities continue to keep us busy. The Send Offs were a packed few weekends and the Marine Welcome Homes were special as it was the first time we were invited. Special thanks to MGySgt Wald for his help.
The Remember the Fallen Tributes begin in May. These will be special days travelling across this state once again honoring our fallen heroes. Please use the event calendar to stay in touch with what is going on.
Make sure you mark June 20, 2009, down for the Patriot Ride in East Bethel. www.ThePatriotRide.org The organizers have once again focused on creating an event to remember. The special part of the day will be the closing ceremony in which a Vietnam KIA who did not receive military honors will on that day receive them.
Also do not forget the Vietnam Vet Welcome Home on June 13, 2009 held on the state capitol grounds. While undefined yet the MN Patriot Guard will be assisting that day in helping make sure it comes off in a great way for our vets who so richly deserve it! http://www.mnhonorsvietnamvets.org/
As always... Thank You for what you do. I don't think there has ever been such a volunteer group such as this. None of us are paid anything in terms of money.. but when I am with you I feel I am the richest man in the world. I am honored to stand with you any where, any time.
KIA/Active Duty/LEO Funeral 1
Veterans Funeral 6
Welcome Home 2
Send Off 13
Veterans Home Event 3
Meet & Greet 4
Blue Star Mothers Event 1
Monthly Tribute Mankato 1
Fund Raiser 1
POW/MIA Rememberance 1
Training/Leadership Meeting 2
HOTH Work Event 1
National Guard/Military Event 1
Total Number 39
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Thanks for all you do. Words cannot express all that you do for the troops and their families. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Keep up the great work.
Monday, May 4, 2009
At Large Members - Two Year Terms
John "Jack" Foster
Ride Captain Representative to the Executive BoD - One Year Term
Thank you to all who put their name out as a candidate. Everyone had something to offer the organization and would have helped make it better! I learned something about everybody while reading the bio's you supplied and am interested in your thoughts on what we do.
A special "thanks" to Terry Throndson who helped us through our first year as a full BoD. Many of the things we did were for the first time so it was a year of great learning... I look forward to riding with you Digger...