The Westboro Baptist Church decided to protest a Marine’s funeral. When word of this leaked out, a group of unexpected guests decided to show up and teach them a lesson.
Marine Cpl. Richard Bennett had his life cut short in Iraq when he died in a helicopter crash. The tragic accident took the Marine’s life when he was just 25 years old. As his grief-stricken family and the small town of Girard, Kansas, prepared to lay their loved one to rest and say goodbye to the fallen soldier, word reached the Westboro Baptist Church. Disgustingly, the radical members of Westboro decided to protest Cpl. Bennett’s funeral since the deranged group believes that God kills members of the military due to America’s acceptance of homosexuality.
Of course, Bennett’s already grieving family was devastated to hear that the radical Westboro group was going to picket the funeral, yelling the hate-filled and angry things that this group likes to spew. But, thankfully, Westboro’s plotted protest of the Marine hero’s funeral wouldn’t quite go as they had planned since another group found out about it beforehand and knew exactly what to do. Bennett’s family had some good people on their side, ready to stand up for them, as the Westboro miscreants soon found out.
The Patriot Guard Riders is a group with an important purpose. These patriots, many of whom are veterans as well as motorcycle enthusiasts, attend the funerals of members of the U.S. military and first responders at the invitation of a decedent’s family. Forming an honor guard at military burials, the Patriot Guard Riders organization helps protect mourners from the harassment of groups like the Westboro Baptist Church.
The service the Patriot Guard Riders group provides is priceless. When a family loses a loved one, the last thing they want or need to face is a group of irreverent, cruel, disrespectful, and downright crazed extremists with vile signs and chants. It’s during those moments that the Patriot Guard Riders show their respect in the most effective and protective way. Using their bikes and their bodies, they form an impenetrable shield against picketers.
Marine Cpl. Richard Bennett’s family was happy to have the Guard attend their fallen hero’s funeral and keep the Westboro Baptist Church members out so those who were grieving their loss could have the peace they deserved during such a difficult time. And, the Patriots, filling the ranks of the Guard, were more than happy to do this one small and final service for a fallen comrade.
Bikers by the hundreds arrived and drowned out the noise the Westboro members were trying so desperately to create with their disgusting chants. But, they were no match for the Guardsmen’s loud bike engines. Thankfully, the rumble of the bikes, as well as the patriotic music coming from their motorcycles’ radios, were all that could be heard.
What’s better, the bikers formed a wall, so the protesters weren’t even be seen by Richard Bennett’s mourning family. The human wall formed around the premise by the Patriot Guard Riders at Bennett’s funeral, with each member holding an American flag, blocked the picketers and their outrageous signs from view. “No family should have to face this type of hatred on the day that they’re putting their loved ones to rest,” Ken Van, a United Methodist pastor and a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, calmly said, and he’s right.
Cpl. Richard Bennett and other fallen soldiers just like him died defending our sacred freedoms. Yes, these brave men and women even die to give the radical, fringe members of the Westboro Baptist Church the right to protest and picket the funerals of the heroes who laid down their lives so that a vitriolic group like theirs can bombard funeralgoers with angry chants. However, just because Westboro has the right to speak doesn’t mean we have to give them a platform. In fact, we don’t even have to listen, and thanks to the Patriot Guard Riders, neither do these grieving families.