RTFU

RU Meets Westboro Baptist Church

By
Updated: October 15, 2012

By RU Rob

On Saturday, October 13th, Nick and I took a little ride down to Raeford, NC to stand in a human wall to protect the family of a fallen soldier from the hatred and lunacy of the Westboro Baptist Church. I am ashamed to say it was the first time I had done so since the start of the war, but it will not be the last. You know from my writings here that I am somewhat curmudgeonly in my life; however, this beautiful, crisp fall morning in North Carolina just may have changed that.

The day started out early, I left my house at 0600 to pick up Nick for the two hour trek south to Raeford. The first order of business – coffee! I had driving duty and Nick was already working magic on his BlackBerry, sending tweets and Facebook posts. One of the first tweets of the day…

Looking forward to a fun morning acting as a human wall with @ against the Westboro Baptist fucksticks protesting a mil funeral
@Ranger_Up
Ranger Up / Nick

Soon, we got word that there were over a 1000 people signed up on another Facebook page to attend. We were already in awe at the support that this event was garnering. Even the comments left on our Facebook page were motivating and I knew in my heart that we were doing the right thing and fighting the good fight.

Once we pulled into town, the first thing I noticed was a quiet solitude with those who had already gathered. There were about 500 or so already gathered when we arrived 2 hours early. It was not a festive atmosphere but more of a quiet respect; with people of all walks of life, united by the cause and a desire to pay respects to a fallen soldier quietly talking within their small groups. Nick and I were also quiet, standing off to the side and absorbing the patriotism that was already flowing freely. About an hour or so before the funeral was to begin, that quietness was broken by the slow rumble of motorcycles as they came streaming in from all directions.

It was about this time that an SUV tail-gate was opened and exposed what seemed to be hundreds of flags. Quietly, and without any provocation, the Patriot Guard Riders converged on the SUV and began assembling the flags, all in a revered silence. Across the street, a small contingent of Marines in blues had assembled and stood in formation, silent and professional.

The Patriot Guard Riders were well disciplined and even though there seemed to be hundreds of them, they were well organized and knew what their mission was: protect the family. After a quick meeting on the lawn of the church, the PGR filed by the truck, were issued their weapon for the day, and silently filed down the line. I am not even close to exaggerating when I say there had to have been at least a 1000 American Flags, held by patriots standing shoulder to shoulder, forming a wall of red, white, and blue around the church. It was absolutely amazing and beautiful.

Madeline had found her way to us and we decided that we needed to go find the WBC and see what kind of hate they were spewing. After asking a few folks where their protest area was, we rounded the corner to see about a 1000 patriots singing and chanting USA…USA…USA. It was at least 3 blocks down but you could feel the energy of the crowd as we approached.

The crowd was feisty yet completely in control of their emotions. My biggest worry of the day is that someone would absolutely lose it and beat the WBC senseless. This did not happen. As we arrived, a well-coordinated, multi-pronged attack commenced. On one side, a lone patriot broke ranks of the crowd and approached the WBC protesters; this caused a response from the police as they all converged on the patriot’s location, and leaving the other side of the protesters completely open and vulnerable. Once the patriot had the complete attention of the police, on the other side another two stealthy patriots quickly approached and snatched the American flags the WBC douche-fucks were dragging on the ground. Once the flags were in hand, they quickly disappeared into the cheering, rambunctious crowd.

The first patriot was immediately released and that action charged those assembled even more. The pitch of the counter-protest reached feverish levels; men, women and children of all lifestyles, coming together against a tyranny of illogical hate.

Sensing defeat was imminent, tails tucked deeply between their legs, the WBC quickly loaded up and left a full 20 minutes early of what their permit had authorized. This battle was quickly lost, not with the shear force that was very readily available and more than willing in a good game of crowd stomping. No, this battle was won with pure emotion and patriotism at the highest level. The coming together of a community – most of which did not personally know the fallen, yet willing to sacrifice their time and well-being in the efforts to protect a few. This was America god-dammit, and we stood shoulder to shoulder on our soil to prevent the tyranny of evil. Just like our service-members do every day across this world.

Later on, WBC began sending Nick and I tweets claiming victory, along with their usual banter and bull-shit. Nick’s response:

@ no I will not have sex with you. Please stop private messaging me.
@Ranger_Up
Ranger Up / Nick

Classic.

After the douche-tards ran away like little pansies, the crowd formed a corridor in which the funeral procession would pass. There were enough people present to create a tunnel that was 3-4 people deep and 7-8 city blocks long.

The Patriot Guard Riders were consummate professionals. They were walking the line and explaining the etiquette of a military funeral procession: remove your hats, bow your head, and no cheering. The crowd accepted their role and was completely compliant and respectful.

Soon the funeral procession approached with the roar of motorcycles, the soldier passed in front of us and with a glance across the crowd, there were men and women standing at attention, many of which held the hand salute with military precision. A tear formed in my eye.

As the procession passed, a quiet calm fell over the once rabid crowd. People shook hands and peacefully dispersed back into their own world. Nick and I said good-byes to our friends, and headed for the car. I don’t know if it was the emotion of the day, but there was not much chatter between us on the ride home. We were witness to something incredible – something so awesome it cannot be properly described in words. The only thing I could possibly say is… amazing.

Comments

comments

40 Comments

  1. Jack Mandaville

    October 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Outstanding!

  2. TomM

    October 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Wish I could have made it down, thanks for standing in the gap, again.

  3. Pam

    October 15, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Rob, this is writen in such a way it is so full of emotion, I feel like I was there.
    I have already promised myself that in the future if WBC were to return to Michigan with their ignorance I will make myself part of the human wall. I pray that day doesn’t happen again here.

  4. Cecilio Mendez

    October 15, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    That is the American way to show respect. The right way. Hoohah!

  5. Peter D

    October 15, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    They Patriot Guard Riders have shown up in Indiana, for a couple of the funerals for veterans that I have attended. They are the utmost professional and making sure everything is done for the family that they can. There was a funeral here, that was so overcrowded, that they had seats in the parking lot, and the parking lot was moved into a farmers field. It was truly moving. I was not able to stay the entire time, due to medical conditions, but I would be lying if I did not say how touched I was that so many showed up to share the grief with the family.

  6. Josh

    October 15, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Absolutely amazing.

  7. L Luster

    October 15, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Outstanding! I look to The Rhino Den for a good laugh, but this was something that really puts things into perspective. I have had my share of the WBC while living out in Colorado but thankfully I have not seen them in action at a Military funeral. Thank you for standing up and protecting this family in their time of need.

  8. Mr. Twisted

    October 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Well done, sir. Well done indeed.

    Makes me wish I had been there.

  9. Freqman

    October 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Thank you for such a great story. I was one of those patriot Guard Riders standing in the Flag line and also following SSG Johnsons Bike Hearse on her final ride. I too was touch at the out pouring of support, and for you guys to travel 2 hours to show your support for SSG Johnson, Thank you again.

  10. SGTSpanky

    October 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I was in charge of a funeral team in Ft Lewis for a bit and worked with the PGR for a few funerals… Amazing human beings… Quiet professionals who remind me of why i put the uniform on… For those who came before… And those who will follow…

  11. Able34Bravo

    October 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Badass. Please look me up if they ever plan to show up in the Phoenix area.

  12. Vincent DiGuardi

    October 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    As a veteran myself i sir salute you

  13. Tater

    October 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Nice job writing. It’s hard to put into words the emotions felt during these missions. Well done, Sir.

  14. Jo Warren

    October 15, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    What an emotional and eloquently written article. Sadly, it was an Honor and a Privilege to have been a part of this. Thank you all for your Patriotism … Please feel free to stand along side the Patriot Guard Riders anytime .. better yet .. become a member.

    Thank you again

  15. Gregory Judd

    October 15, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Awesome story with all the facts. Stories are out there saying these Soldier physically assault the WBC pukes which was totally untrue. WBC survives bring lawsuits up on individuals, City, State and Federal agencies for what they say is exercising their 1st Amendment rights, the last thing they need is ammunition to try this on three outstanding servicemembers will a well thought out and executed plan to bring respect back to that flag that was being drug on the ground.

  16. NCHDPGR

    October 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    I also rode down to Reaford in the cold on my old hog with the PGR. I have done this many times. I can say that the PGR represent some of the finest people I know. Servants willing to face freezing cold, rain, heat, and standing for hours to honor the US service members and their families. We are glad to do it and always hope other patriots will join us to show honor and respect to our troops.

    Stand for a family who has lost a child, mother, father, brother, sister and friend in service to the call of their country and you will have your life changed. Freedom is expensive. Very, very, expensive. Seeing that folded flag being presented to a grieving family will make you cherish freedom. Knowing that not only the hero has paid the ultimate price but, that their family has paid dearly will rewire your reality. Every PGR member lives a very thankful attitude in the reality of what the good life Americans enjoy cost the best and most honorable we have to offer.

    We should never surrender what it cost blood to buy.

  17. Robert

    October 15, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Even more proud of my choice to ride with The Patriot Guard Riders. Well written. I’m glad to think that my small message to you as you were there might have had a small part of your motivation.

    …amazing!

  18. Jdwebco

    October 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Great work guys. Great Americans all of you!

  19. Jody Merrill

    October 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    The PGR are the most awsome group of volunteers I have ever met in my life. They were present at my 29 year old Marine son’s funeral. Never have I witnessed the respect, honor and dignity that each and every one of them showed our family and our precious son. Thank God for such groups, for without them, I’m afraid to even think about what mayhem might break out at these military families. Please, please, please never pass up the chance to thank and shake the hand of a Veteran. And . . .always remember, Freedom is NOT Free. 1% of our nation’s population protect us ALL. That’s a huge job and they do it well. Semper Fi
    Curt’s mom

  20. Lovie

    October 15, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    My daughter and I were there. She wore her JROTC uniform with pride. She stood at the graveside with the honor guard when they handed out flags. She saluted at the “present arms” command. She did me proud. She did the uniform proud. I hope SSG Donna saw her and she was as proud as I was. I am British and I live here in Raeford. Been here 10 years. I was so proud of this little community. So very proud. I have a feeling WBC won’t be returning again. They didn’t win anything but the “Loser award for dipshidiots” God Bless The USA 🙂

  21. Dodie Butler

    October 16, 2012 at 12:30 am

    I was there too, allthough I didn’t go anywhere near the visitors. I was sent to the Church. I enjoyed reading your piece….it is well written and factual. However… remember, if we call them nasy words or names…we become like them. We are the good guys! We know the meaning of Honour and Respect and we must act like it at all times. Thank you and stay safe~~~

  22. Robin Hanes

    October 16, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Well written story. My respects to the Patriot Guard. And Thank you for being there.

  23. AJ

    October 16, 2012 at 2:14 am

    I hate WBC church as much as the next guy. The silver lining is that they have done a great job of bringing from vastly different backgrounds people together, united against a common foe.

  24. Oops

    October 16, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Hats off to Dutch and the rest of the PGR at the mission. They did an awesome job as always. Proud to be there.

  25. John Spears

    October 16, 2012 at 9:50 am

    You described it perfectly!When wbc was there I was the big bald dude standing dead center front of crowd across from them with the Flag that was about to hit the power lines!I don’t think anyone could have described that day any better!Thanks for standing with us!

  26. Emily Farren

    October 16, 2012 at 10:55 am

    This story was so well written that I actually felt like I was there. Thank you for sharing this story to all of us that couldn’t be there. Most important thank you for helping this family lay to rest this fallen soldier with dignity and respect.

  27. LTC Robert Staggs

    October 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I have never been more touched by a video I saw of a funeral in which the PGRs assembled a wall of red, white, and blue. It was quite moving and instilled such a level of pride in our PGRs and other patriots who allowed the family the peace and dignity to honor their fallen it was, just as you wrote, indescribable. What you described of the PGRs is exactly what was in the video. I applaud you for taking your time to participate in what can only be described as patriotic duty. I truly hope to join you to protect the next soldier and their family.

  28. RaeGirl

    October 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    I grew up in this small hometown of Raeford, NC- graduated from Hoke Co. High School and all. I am so proud of the gathering that occurred here: all to honor a fallen solider and pay tribute to her service. I was unable to attend the event and spent almost 30 minutes in prayer that the WBC would not win! The devil has a hold of their hearts and they are NOT Christians!

  29. Shannan

    October 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Outstanding work, guys! I firmly believe WBC targets military funerals only as desperate bids for attention. Disgusting.

  30. Eric

    October 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    The best Rhinoden post ever.

  31. Rocky Gates

    October 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    These are some of America’s proudest moments. How can people who call themselves Christians be so un-Christian. Regardless of how you feel about the war…supporting our soldiers should be a priority. God bless our boys, God bless the patriot guard and God bless America!!!

  32. Geanie

    October 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Born and raised in Hoke Co. I can only say the support for Donna and her family was nothing short of amazing. Thanks to the PGRs for all they do. This was a very heartwarming experience for me and I was proud to be a small part of the Human Wall.

  33. Chemstix

    October 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    RU-

    Thanks for writing this, and for being there with us. It was truly a sense of American Pride, and deep-set Honor that the crowd assembled paid the respect due this fallen soldier. I have never been as proud of my community as that day, and it is a day I will not soon let slip from memory.

    I am proud to have stood vigil with Old Glory as my weapon, and my silence as my hommage. On that day, we stood in triumph over an evil thing, in stark defiance over this enemy..

    WBC should consider that we patriots, veterans and active service members hold dear or liberties, even the knowledge that we’ve fought for their instability and rage against us…although enraged…we took the high road winning the battle for the fallen.

    AIRBORNE ALL THE WAY!

    Former SGT 2/325 ABCT – SETAF
    Current Legion Rider and Patriot

  34. angella service

    October 17, 2012 at 3:21 am

    Thank you for your participation. I have a son about to go over there. In the event he only gets a one way ticket, I would be honored to have your support. Please pray he is returned to me in the same condition I loaned him to the US Army

  35. Linda Null

    October 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

    It was an honor and a priviledge to be there Saturday…..and you put it down in words perfectly!

  36. Carl Rhuebottom

    October 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    You described it very well, and as a Raeford local thank you and thank you to everyone out of town who took time from their lives to travel to our small town and help us protect and remember one of our own.

  37. ELAINE DILLS

    October 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I am a proud US citizen and honored to be a member of the NC PGR.
    I was not able to attend this mission but have done many. It is not
    about the PGR but the hero we are honoring. It is all about Honor and Respect. If it helps bring some comfort to the families then we have done our job. Happier missions welcoming home our heroes also. It is a family and I am proud to stand side by side holding our beautiful flag with these fellow patriots.

  38. T.J Murphy

    October 21, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Thank You to all that partcipated. And shared with all.

  39. YTK

    October 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    “ran away like little pansies” seems like a poor choice of words, since (I assume) the WBC was protesting at the funeral of a fallen gay soldier.

  40. BEAR

    November 6, 2012 at 11:23 am

    WBC is outside the Bible Belt so automatically they are not real Baptists… no offense to those who are that serve Christ and America honorably.
    RU & PGR Gob Bless Ya’ll ~Reverend John

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