Riding to Honor Soldiers

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email
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03-07-07 Most of the men and women in the Patriot Guard Riders travel hundreds of miles to pay tribute to the men and women who serve in uniform, most of whom they've never met. They say it's their way to serve.

They're motorcyle enthusiasts on a mission, revving their engines for the armed forces.

"We exists to show honor and respect and appriciation to the sacrifice of the families of our fallen warriors," said John "Top" Kammerer, a Patriot Guard Rider.

They're 82,000 members strong. The riders attend fallen soldiers funerals and events like Wednesday evening.
Their mission was to carry a flag from Madill, Oklahoma to California. Their objective was to fulfill the wishes of a veteran of World War II and the Korean War and his family.

Buddy Weyland had a daughter when he was stationed in Japan, but lost track of her fifty years ago. Family members say he had a picture of her as a child hanging in his home until his death in 1975.

Now his family asked the Patriot Guard Riders to take the flag that draped his casket, to his daughter half-way across the country.

"We're going to escort the flag, take the flag to California to a daughter. And it's to fulfill the last wish of Buddy's wife," Kammerer said.

Many of the riders are veterans themselves. They say even though they have not have served alongside these particular troops, they still care.

"They need to know that we support them and we support the sacrifice of our warriors," Kammerer said.

The riders say they'll travel in shifts until Buddy's flag arrives in Alta Loma, California. Alta Loma is located about 40 miles west of Los Angeles.

Buddy's family members were truly moved to see complete strangers willing to help fulfill family wishes.


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