What did I do today? I cried…


August 11

This post written by Bill Bakan, part of living is giving back to your community where you can. Sometimes with money, sometimes with your time, sometimes with both. We are a small family farm market and winery. This blog is about Ohio Wine but also more, it’s also about “how we roll”.

My 1st Patriot Guard Mission

My 1st Patriot Guard Mission

I am not a “joiner” I am a entrepreneur, sort of a loaner and when it comes to riding my motorcycles it has always been more about “escape” from people and the world. Just me, my ride and the road. But you see my Dad is WWII USMC soon to be 91 years on this planet and I am proud of that and wanted to find a way to show appreciation to those that stand for us. My Dad never encouraged us to go into the military he had done that and did not care to see us do it.

1st Patriot Guard Mission line up

1st Patriot Guard Mission line up

Today at the request of the family the Patriot Guard had a mission to honor a Marine that had returned home to his final resting place in Rittman Ohio. I had really no idea what I was in for. I joined the guard because I thought the protests that some groups were doing at military funerals to be disgusting. Today one came close to home and I was able to go. The guard’s duty is to provide a shield between these protests and the family if necessary. We are just to stand there with the stars and stripes just as the fallen service member had stood for us. No one came to protest, we just had to be there to honor this Marine’s service in peace, as it should be.

1st Patriot Guard Mission

1st Patriot Guard Mission

So I watched and learned and tried to not mess up, I was just one small volunteer trying to find a way to pay some sort of small honor to a Marine that had made the ultimate sacrifice and to give some comfort to his family. We waited, then stood guard, then we rode quite a long way from Brecksville Ohio to Rittman, without stopping. Along the way others stopped to let us pass at the bequest of a road guard of police officers. Many, many people stopped as we passed.

People stopped along on ramps, sidewalks, fire trucks on the overpasses and more.

We arrived at the National Cemetary in Rittman, we dismounted gathered the flags from our bikes and stood in a line along the path.

It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot with white puffy clouds against a bright blue sky and a slight breeze. It was a wonderful day to ride, but a real lousy reason.

Marines with white tops, black coats, blue pants with red strips and white belts were there too. Two Marines along the path in front of us, seven to carry the casket, seven to fire three shots each, one to call the orders, one to play taps. Hundreds of other law enforcement officers, the family, the Leatherneck nation, Rolling Thunder and more all under the sun of a stunning sky. What a beautiful day to be alive.

We stood in a line, we were not “playing” some game this was real, we were wanted there, we were asked. We were very close to the core of the purpose of the day, I was amazed. I wondered if this was how a citizen felt back in the time George Washington. I was just a man with no special reason to be there other than I felt I should do what I could to fill a hole in this line, I did so by “joining” this group.

Rittman

Rittman

I wore my vented nylon riding jacket, I did not really “fit in” amongst all the leather vests and other more traditional “Harley Davidson” style attire, I don’t ride a H-D, but I was welcome. I also wore dark sunglasses, and about half way through the ceremony I also wore tears.

And I’ll wear them again till they come home, and I can say “Welcome Home”.

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