PGR remembers North Dakotans killed in war on terror.

Patriot Guard Riders leave their bikes, flags flying, as they quietly move through the Veteran’s Cemetery.

The NDPGR flag

It’s a quiet event, but like a quietly ticking clock, it happens regularly each month.  Those whose schedules are free — and who remember — join with other Patriot Guard Riders at the state’s monument honoring North Dakotans killed in the Global War on Terror in Bismarck.  After greeting one other PGR members and the Gold Star Mothers who attend,  the group rides south of Mandan to North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetery to remember the two-dozen North Dakota soldiers who have died since we were attacked on September 11, 2001.

There is no media coverage. There is no fanfare. This is deeper than the fluff of the nightly news. Family members who have lost a son, brother or father in the war join the monthly event.  A bonded community of grief and appreciation has been built from the ground up, the burial ground where young people lay, waiting for the resurrection. Until then, they are honored by the Patriot Guard.

At the monthly event, are  handshakes, and hugs, and  a prayer. A cluster of yellow balloons is released.  And a monthly marker is laid on the grave sites of those who have died fighting terrorists.  Other family members who are buried at the cemetery are also remembered.

On the right edge, a cluster of yellow balloons drifts off.

I cannot express how deeply moved I am by this event.

Moving through the graveyard.

A small band of farmers, mechanics, retired law officers, young riders, veterans and current members of the military leave their household duties and chores to make sure these young people who gave their lives for our freedom are remembered. The Gold Star Mothers — those who have lost a child in the war —  join the monthly event.

Mrs. Richter at the grave site of Christopher Wicks

The Patriot Guard stands with Gold Star Mothers to help shoulder their grief and remember the lives of their children, now dead. While politics rage and politicians wag, these solidly grounded riders know what matters — people.

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