Patriot Guard Riders Their Mission Their Vision and Their Role in Military Funerals

A non profit 501(c)3 organization which ensures dignity and respect at memorial services honoring fallen Military Heroes.

Texas Twins Events regularly donates to this organization for many reasons. As our readers know, we support and have great respect for all areas of the Military. In fact, many members of our family are active or retired Military members.

The Patriot Guard Riders are a very diverse group of riders who have an unwavering respect for Fallen Military members who have risked their lives defending America and the freedom Americans enjoy.

The main prerequisite is RESPECT, the motorcycle you ride is not important, where you are from, your political views, your income level and your religious background are also not a factor to this group who regularly attend funeral services as the invited guests of families to show sincere respect for their communities, their heroes and their families.

I first met this group at a Military funeral in Weatherford, TX. The respect for the family shown by these men who at their own expense had travelled from points far and wide impressed me.

If you have not been an attendee of a Military Funeral, the rules of etiquette on conducting oneself are a bit more formal than traditional funerals in a number of ways.

All attendees are expected to refrain from sudden outbursts or causing a commotion. Understanding the rules of etiquette will help attendees be more at ease and comfortable during the ceremony.

Saluting or not Saluting when attending a Military Funeral:
if you have no prior Military affiliation. Please note that there is no rule stating a non veteran civilian should salute at any time during a Military Funeral, while some civilians may feel that they are showing a sign of respect, when the Salute is handled in an ineffective form, it can be mistaken as a breach of etiquette.

Guidelines for Military Personnel who have not attended a funeral or memorial service:
If you are a member of the Armed Forces, you will be expected to behave in a respectful manner amongst civilians who may be unfamiliar with traditions and expectations. Besides wearing your dress uniform, you should stand and Salute when appropriate (unless of course if you are a pallbearer)
1. When a hearse passes in front of you
2. At any time a casket is being moved
3. During a gun Salute
4. While Taps is being played
5. If present at the time the casket is lowered into the ground.

If there is an American Flag draped over the coffin- DO NOT TOUCH THE FLAG as you will soil it with oils from your fingers. The flag is a sacred element and should AT ALL TIMES be treated as such.

Civilians and those attending Military or Honors Memorial Services:
If you are wearing civilian clothing, you should remove hats (both men as well as women) and place over your heart in lieu of Saluting. Use your right hand if you are not wearing a hat. Remain standing for the entire service except when the Chaplain, Minister, or other Religious person is reading the committal service if seating is available, or when the person presiding the ceremony instructs you to be seated.

ALWAYS MUTE CELL PHONES! I have gone over this detail at weddings and funerals and, am always dismayed when a phone rings during an important event that should not be interrupted by the sound of a phone.

Saying goodbye to the departed can be done in a number of ways. Most often photos of the life of the departed are displayed as a form of remembering the life of the departed.

I’ve had many ask if it is appropriate to touch the body and while there are Spiritual variations relating to numerous religions opposing the touching of the body, based on the desire of family or friends to touch the body to say goodbye, a prayer or even a kiss can give closure for many families and close relatives. In the Old Testament the touching of those who had passed was frowned upon mainly because many had died of disease and the risk of contamination or possibly becoming ill by exposure is no longer as serious of an issue when saying goodbye to a loved one for the last time.

I personally have for many years gently touched the coffin and said a prayer for the departed and pray for strength of the family for the loss of a loved one is often a shock that takes much time to accept, understand and finally pass the grief process to move forward and remember the joys and love of those we have lost. Life is fragile and love for those we miss will eventually become less painful but the ear of a friend, the empathy of those close to you and the ability to accept that at some point, we all leave this life and knowing that at some point in your life you will find yourself attending a funeral for a coworker, a loved one or a friend is often difficult for many people. Understand that you are not alone when feeling perhaps somewhat apprehensive regarding the finality and fragile nature of life.