Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What is the PGR?

I get this question a lot.  It usually goes something like this.  "What did you do today, Mike?" "I got up, went on a PGR mission, then just worked the rest of the day." "PGR, what's that?  Mission?"

We are the Patriot Guard Riders, a loosely-held group of motorcycle riders who gather when requested by the family of a fallen U.S. Military service member to stand in their honor out of respect.  Although many members of the Patriot Guard are retired and active duty U.S. Military, many such as myself, were not able to serve this country in the military, but choose to ride and stand out of respect for the service and sacrifice of the men and women of our military and their families.  Some PGR do not ride motorcycles, either, however they are just as active as any other PGR member.

There is no "membership". No roll call.  No dues, and no official "oath" or "code".  The Patriot Guard is not a motorcycle club.  The PGR, however, has National and State leadership and an annual Gathering of the Guard.  This year, the Gathering of the Guard will be hosted by the CenTex PGR, in Killeen, TX.
Lady Thunder and I in a PGR escort. Photo by @MarineMajor
Because of where I live on the North side of Austin, I typically participate in "CenTex" and "Austin" missions.  What is a mission?  It's simply a term we use to define an activity where the presence of the PGR has been requested.  Emails go out, and we show up at missions as we can.  Not all missions are funerals or memorial services.  The PGR is quite often requested to attend "Welcome Home" celebrations for returning service members; from a battalion to a single service member.

Standing for a veteran. Photo by @MarineMajor
On Saturday, the PGR stood for a Vietnam-era Air Force veteran in Georgetown, VA. We formed a flag line at the funeral home, escorted the hearse to the cemetery, and formed a flag line again for the graveside memorial service.

We come. We stand. We go. It's such a small sacrifice of time. We're simply honored to be there.

P.S. The photos in this post were taken by my friend, @MarineMajor.  He maintains two excellent blogs; Standing for those who stood for us, and Vietnam from the back seat of a fighter-bomber.  The first is a sort of chronicle of PGR missions to which he participates and the second is a chronological publication of his "almost daily diary of the eleven months I (he) spent in Vietnam".

1 comment:

  1. I love that you do this. Such a nice way to show respect for those who have given of themselves for our freedom. Thanks, Mike.