Friday, March 21, 2014

Members, please see the below two emails from National regarding the passing of Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) founder Fred Phelps:
"Many members have suggested that PGR tack the high road and protect the Phelps' funeral:
While many of us agree with these sentiments, attending any funeral without the invite of the family could be considered disrespectful.  Attending any non-veteran or non-first responder funeral would be outside the PGR mission statement and likely be considered a form of protest.
The most misunderstood thing about Patriot Guard is that we are not a protest or counter protest group. We simply desire to show respect to our Nation's fallen heroes and their families. As a 501(c)3 we cannot be involved with any form of protest or counter protest.  If the Department of Defense were to decide that the Patriot Guard Riders is a protest or counter-protest group, they would be forced to stop cooperating with us in securing invitations of the KIA/Active Duty death missions, along with deployments and welcome homes of military units.  Our primary mission is to respectfully attend funerals for military personnel, and first responders and then only with an invitation from the immediate family.  Without the DoD cooperation, it would be extremely difficult for us to be able to honor those fallen active duty heroes.
So, the Patriot Guard Riders will NOT attend any non-veteran or non-first responder funeral as it clearly falls outside of our mission scope.
We desire to remain in good standing with the DOD and focus on our primary mission.
Robbie Smart
Patriot Guard Riders"
"Patriot Guard,
Let us first remember our Nations true Heroes. Those brave men and women of our military and first responders who gave their life so that we may enjoy the freedom to express our differences.
While it is hard to find anything good to say about his views or actions, we do give our condolences to his family during what must be a painful time for them.  We take no joy in the sickness and death of any man. We do not celebrate the death of Fred Phelps.  Rather, Patriot Guard Rider's hope that Mr. Phelps somehow found the peace that seemed to elude him in life.
It is true that the PGR grew out of a response to protests at funerals.  That's a fair statement.
But that was 2005 and the PGR quickly learned that there was something powerful in a gathering of Americans who would simply stand and hold flags and let a family know that they were not alone.  And that powerful thing became our mission.
We are neither a protest nor a counter protest group.  We honor fallen Heroes and those who have honorably served this free America. The presence or absence of a protest does not alter that mission.
If it not for this man and his family we might not have heeded the call to regularly honor the sacrifices of our nation's true heroes and their families.  Nor would we have come to know the brother/sisterhood that the Patriot Guard Riders has become.
Robbie Smart
Patriot Guard Riders"