Thank you for your sacrifice and God bless you and your family
What would make a group of bikers gather together at Mc Donald's on a cold Saturday morning instead of sleeping in? What would also cause a group of people who don't ride motorcycles to get up and meet those bikers at McDonald's on the same cold morning at 6:30 a.m.? What would you call these people that get up and drive hundreds of miles to meet another group of people so early on a Saturday morning? This group of people is called AMERICANS.
These people are Americans that sometimes don't know each other, coming from all over the Kansas City METRO and around the country for one purpose. These Americans carry the same red, white, and blue patriotism that our forefathers did when this great nation was established, which we call THE UNTIED STATES OF AMERICA; the land of the free and the home of the brave.
These Americans living in the land of the free spent this Saturday morning paying their last respects to one of America's brave fallen heroes. They are a group called the Patriot Guard Riders. Some came in cars, pick ups, vans and some of us rode motorcycles. But, they all gathered off I-435 and 87th St in Lenexa, Kansas for one purpose. That was to honor Spc. Michael Brown, and to pay their respects to his family and their sacrifice. An American whose name is Sherry came all of the way from the state of Oregon to honor her Soldier. Sherry is a member of the Soldiers' Angels, who adopted Spc. Michael Brown as one of her own to send letters and care packages. The Soldiers' Angels is an organization that makes sure 'no soldier goes unloved.' Sherry shared some information with the Patriot Guard Riders about how much Spc. Brown appreciated her and what she did for him. Sherry; thank you for making the mission.
After a quick cup of hot coffee, we jumped on our motorcycles, while other hopped into their cars, vans, or trucks and headed south to Ottawa, Kansas with the Patriot Guard Riders to the final staging area. As I walked around talking to different riders and non-riders alike, I felt honored to be in this group of people. The American spirit filled the air with music by anyone who had a CD player. It was an amazing site to see as everyone began to unfold their flags in preparation for the escort. You could see the American flag, Patriot Guard Riders, US Marine Corp, US Navy, US Army, VFW, POW, and State flags flowing in the wind as patriotic music played and everyone moved about as though they had something to accomplish. Everyone there had a purpose, and that purpose was the mission to honor SPC Michael Brown and his family.
For some of us, it was our first Patriot Guard Riders Ride, and we were impressed to say the least. Terry 'Darkhorse' Houck, one of the original founders, spoke briefly and distributed Patriot Guard Riders patches to the first timers as we gathered to listen to the road captain Streamer, with assistance from Debi, for our escort instructions. A lump developed in my throat as the flag bikes began to roll into position and out onto the road. Some the citizens of Ottawa, Kansas held small American flags and waved as the escort got underway heading north. They knew why we were there and they waved us on as if to say God Bless America and SPC Michael Brown.
We arrived at the funeral home with some 210 bikes and 12 vehicles. We respectfully moved our bikes into position and parked. Some had to ride onto the sidewalk to get in the staging area at the funeral home. As we dismounted from our bikes, everyone headed for the trailer that was carrying the American Flags. Nobody had to give an order or ask somebody to help; they just knew what to do and they did it. The flags were pulled from the trailer and handed to each individual who took the most honored position of the Patriot Guard Riders, the flag line. Straight as an arrow, the men and women stood holding the American Flag. As I began to take photos of the mission, I noticed the flag line stood tall and firm like a rock. You could look at the faces of the Americans in the flag line and see some holding back the tears with a lump in their throat. On some of the faces, you saw the look of a warrior from another war and another time. There were veterans from past wars that stood in line and asked for nothing but to honor one of their own; a fallen warrior. In every face that day, you saw respect for the fallen hero, Spc. Michael Brown and his family.
When the time came, the escort of flag bikes with their flags waving in the wind began their final ride to where Spc. Michael Brown would be laid to rest. I think Spc. Brown would have been proud of Ottawa, Kansas that day as we passed under a fire truck with the Stars and Stripes; a large American flag on display in his honor.
Spc. Michael Brown was given a full military funeral, including an honor guard from Ft. Riley, Kansas, and a 21 one gun salute.
When the Marines raised the American Flag on the island of Iwo Jima, they were called HEROES. The real heroes are the ones who gave their life in defense of their country. The most decorated American soldier in World War II, Audi Murphy told the American people, 'The TRUE, the REAL Heroes are the ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice; they gave their life in the defense of our country.'
After proudly serving in a theater of combat with the United States Marine Corps, I must say I agree. On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Spc. Michael Brown for his service, dedication, and his ultimate sacrifice in defense of this great nation. God Bless your family. To his family, it was my privilege to be a part of the escort for a True, Real American Hero, Spc. Michael Brown.
Also, please take time to view the Mission Report, Michael Dean Brown's Obituary, and these great photos, compliments of Stretch.
By Phil Peeler