Why do you come to funerals?
We come to show our respect and gratitude to fallen heroes of our armed forces, first responders, and to show our support to the family, friends and community who mourn their loss.
What if we don’t want you to attend?
The Patriot Guard holds absolute respect for the wishes of the family. We attend only as invited guests, and will not attend if the family expresses their wishes for privacy.
What exactly do you do?
We consider ourselves an outer circle of support. Normally, our members stand outside the services, holding flags to show honor and respect to the fallen hero and his or her family, friends and fellow service members. We often ride at the lead of the funeral procession with large 3’x5′ motorcycle mounted flags, and assemble outside the cemetery with flags held in honor. If the family prefers a completely private burial, we do not attend the graveside service. We are sometimes asked to escort the fallen to his or her hometown from the airport prior to the funeral, although this is not always advisable at larger metropolitan airports due to security, safety and traffic concerns. If the family has any special requests of the Patriot Guard, we do our utmost to carry them out.
What about protestors?
If there are protestors present, we do our best to visually shield the family from any disruption they may cause. We do not antagonize them or show any aggression; that would only serve as a distraction. We do not engage them at all. Our actions in providing a shield are strictly legal and non-violent. We are not a counter-protest group, and the protestors are not our main focus. Our focus is respect and honor for those who serve.
What kind of people belong to the Patriot Guard Riders?
We come from all walks of life. Members include individuals, veterans and current military personnel, members of many motorcycle-related organizations and clubs, and many non-riders who attend in vehicles. No matter what other affiliations our members have, as Patriot Guard Riders we are a diverse group of people who come together as one to show respect to our fallen heroes.
What about traffic concerns?
We work directly with law enforcement to plan for this ahead of time – we do not want to be in the way of mourners attending the funeral. We meet elsewhere prior to services, arrive before services begin, and coordinate with law enforcement for parking, procession and departure so we do not cause traffic problems for the community.
Will you be loud?
Some bikes are loud, but no bikes are running during the services. Our members stand in quiet respect during services, and we discourage revving of engines during processions.
How many Patriot Guard members will come if they’re invited?
This is very difficult to predict, as we are an all volunteer organization; our members all make their best effort to come when requested.
How do you know about the KIA funerals?
For those Killed In Action our State Leadership and our national website monitors the Department of Defense news releases; each state has representatives of the Patriot Guard who make contact with a family representative, to ask if our presence is desired at the services. Normally we work with the Casualty Assistance Officer for all family communications and requests, as we do not wish to intrude directly upon a grieving family.
Huge thanks to the Minnesota Patriot Guard for the above FAQ!