There’s something bothering me about some people out there. They are part of something ugly that has been in and out of the news over the past few years and I don’t really understand it. They are members of a church that thinks it’s their duty to protest at military service members funerals. Being in the military, I just don’t understand the thought process that allows an otherwise normal human being to think actions such as this is okay behavior. It’s not just the fact that the service member put their life on the line, although that’s a big part, but what can possibly make someone think it would be okay to disrupt the mourning process of a family regardless of the personal likes or dislikes they might have towards the deceased?
When a loved one dies, most times it is an extremely traumatic event. The family has to deal with the loss and thoughts of never being able to touch, talk or do anything with that family member again. That’s bad enough, but now this group of “Godly” people have decided to throw more misery on these poor people by protesting at graveside. They decided to throw their unasked for opinion on what that person did with their life into the mix. They didn’t know the person or care about their beliefs. They didn’t have dinner with them or know the type of person they were and what they stood for. No, the only thing that fallen service member did was not share the same point of view with the protesters. I’m usually of the live and let live model, but the last time I checked there was also this thing called the Golden Rule. You know, that whole treat others as you want to be treated thing? I think it was actually mentioned in the bible or something. I may be wrong though since I’m not the most devoutly religious person out there. You would think the protestors might know about it though.
As mad as this makes those left behind, there isn’t much us actively serving persons can do. Those of us in the military are supposed to be defending the exact freedom that these protesters hide behind. The right to free speech. It’s an important freedom, but too many times people hide behind it in order to hurt others. The unfortunate part of this is that the people doing the protesting, who claim to be devoutly religious, seem to be the exact opposite. I was under the impression we were all supposed to care about one another and forgive each other for things even if we didn’t agree with them. I’m pretty sure most of the people whose funerals are being protested didn’t worship the Devil or sacrifice any living things to demons. The only thing they were guilty of was not being part of this groups point of view. This in turn apparently gives that group the right to add insult to injury by shouting malicious things towards the loved ones as they say goodbye. I wonder how these same people would feel if someone protested the funerals of their loved ones. Would they say it was okay because that was how they treated others? No, probably not. They would most likely shout for those protestors to be arrested and thrown in jail. It’s okay for them to be disrespectful of others but not have it done in return. At least that’s what they believe.
Luckily, there is a group out there that defends our fallen comrades in a way those of still serving cannot. The Patriot Guard Riders have taken up the cause of defending those that are no longer able to defend themselves. According to their website they don’t have a presence at a funeral unless they are invited by the family. Once there, they attempt to show their respect for the fallen service member and their family as well as shield them from any disruptions made by protesters or other groups through strictly legal means. They are not there to start a fight. They are there to give family members a chance to grieve without the interruption of someone shouting hateful things at them while their loved one is laid to rest.
A quick visit to their site will tell anyone what they are about and the various ways in which they support our military. There is also contact information for requesting their services as well as links to leadership hat may live close to your area. The group doesn’t care what your political leanings are or whether you are for or against the policies that are in place. Their main concern is the same as most of those that are still serving or have served in the past. They want people to respect our service members and their families who have made the ultimate sacrificeand allow them to peacefully be laid to rest. Nothing else. Seems pretty simple right?