Tag Archive: patriot

Yesterday, I wrote a short blog on a Patriot Guard mission that I was about to participate in.  I kept it short as it was pretty late and I needed to get some sleep for the ride.  I wanted to write more about it and try to convey the emotion and patriotism that happened during this ceremony.

I left home on the bike around 8:30am to meet a friend in Clifton Park, and then head up to meet a few others at another destination.  We got to the other destination and met with about 6 more bikers.  Most of these bikers were Vietnam veterans, and they proudly displayed it on their vests.  We left that spot and headed up the Northway to meet with a larger group of riders just before the exit for the funeral home.

At about 10:45, we all fired up the bikes and headed for the funeral home.  At this point, we had about 25-30 bikes.  We got off the Northway and made our way towards the funeral home.  About a half mile from the funeral home, you could see numerous emergency vehicles parked along the road with their lights going.  On either side of the driveway, there was a huge ladder truck with the ladders fully extended.  Hanging between the two buckets was an enormous American flag.  I got a little choked up at this point.

As we came in under the flag, there were already 60-70 bikes in the parking lot.  There were also about 10 local and State Police motorcycles lined up to lead the ride.  About 15 minutes after we got there, we got the call to mount up and everyone got on their bikes.  I was in the back at this point, so I couldn’t see the casket come out to the hearse.  As they brought it out, a bagpiper began to play.  Just as he began to play, it started raining.  It was a little eerie.

The police bikes left, followed by a few fire trucks and then the Patriot Guard riders.  It was raining pretty good at this point, but it didn’t matter.  It also didn’t matter to the hundreds of people lining the side of the road with flags in their hands.  Many of them held their hands over their hearts.  The amount of people standing there in honor of this fallen soldier blew me away.

The ride went through many small towns, and in each town, there were hundreds of people standing alongside the road.  I honestly thought it would be just in town near the funeral home, but it lasted the whole ride.  The ride to the cemetery was about 45 minutes to an hour.

At one point, in the town of Kingsbury, we came to a bend in the road and they had two ladder trucks set up and another huge flag hanging over the road that we all rode under.  It was another point that got me a little choked up.

When we got to the Saratoga National Cemetery, the Patriot Guard quickly dismounted our bikes and took our flags to stand a flag line for the service.  The turnout for this fallen soldier was incredible.  It was nice to see the huge turnout.  I am sure it meant a lot to his family.  Rest in Peace Spc. Osborn.

Here is a little more information about Spc. Osborn from News 10 and the Associated Press;

By NEWS10 Staff, the Associated Press

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. — A local soldier serving in Afghanistan died in combat Wednesday, adding to one of the deadliest months for U.S. forces during the Afghan war.

According to family members, U.S. Army specialist Benjamin Osborn was in the midst of a conflict with the Taliban when he was killed. Osborn, who was 27, had volunteered to be the gunner and was the only one killed in the conflict.

Osborn’s parents were informed of his death Wednesday morning.

Osborn was a 2002 graduate of Lake George High School. Recently, he had been living in Clarksville, Tennessee where he was stationed at Fort Campbell.

He was just deployed to Afghanistan two months ago, in April of this year. He had previously served 15 months in Iraq.

Osborn was also just recently married back in February.

The flag is now at half-staff at Fort William Henry in Lake George.

His family says he died a true hero.

June is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in the nearly 9-year-old Afghan war, as insurgents have stepped up attacks in response to a NATO push into Taliban strongholds in the south.

The deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan was October 2009, when 59 Americans died, including seven soldiers killed in a single clash near Kandahar and seven who died in a helicopter crash in the northwest not caused by hostile fire.

In the east, meanwhile, three Afghans working for a private security company were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Muqar district of Ghazni province, according to the deputy provincial police chief, Nawroz Ali Nawroz.

Nine Pakistani militiamen were apprehended before dawn Wednesday inside Afghan territory in Kunar province, provincial Police Chief Khalilullah Ziaye said.

The Pakistanis said they fled into Afghanistan to escape attacks by the Pakistani Taliban against four of their checkpoints, Ziaye said. The nine remained in custody Wednesday pending an investigation, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Most people don’t know this about me, but another of my passions in life are motorcycles.  I like all different kinds – choppers, rockets, cruisers, Harleys, BMWs, Hondas.  I have been riding for almost 10 years now thanks to my best friend Jay.  He threw me on a Honda CBR600F3 about ten years ago and said “take it for a spin.”  I had never been on a motorcycle before.  So, here I am, in the middle of Stockbridge, MA on this bike scared to death that I am gonna kill myself my first time out.  He had told me to take it for a quick spin.  Ok, I can do this.  Waiting for traffic to clear, (which could take forever in Stockbridge during tourist season) then I let out the clutch and give it a little gas.  Ok, that wasn’t so bad.  I didn’t die.  Traffic is moving incredibly slowly and I want to go.  Finally, traffic moves out of the way and I crack the throttle.  Seconds later, I look down and I am over 70 mph.  WOW!  What a rush.

If you’ve never been on a sportbike before, imagine Ferrari type power in a 350+/- pounds bike.  Zero to sixty in seconds.  That was it.  I was hooked.  About four hours later, I brought the bike back to Jay with the biggest smile on my face.  It had begun.  Over the next few years, I rode a few other bikes owned by Jay and my brother Mark.  All of them rockets.  I was definitely a sportbike guy.

A few years later, I decided I was going to buy a bike for myself.  I went to the dealer and was all set to buy a brand new Yamaha R6 in Raven.  I was offered a job instead, and they put me in the Harley building selling Harley-Davidsons©.  Yuck.  I was a sportbike guy.  I didn’t like those biker types.  Their motorcycles were way to loud, and oh so slow.  Not my thing.  Fast forward a few months – I am selling Harleys and they keep hounding me to buy one.  I want to go fast, I say.  These things only have 68 hp.  It can’t get out of it’s own way.  “Try this out” the say as they point to a Harley-Davidson V-Rod©.

Interesting.  Great style, 120hp motor made in conjunction with Porsche.  Ok.  I will give it a shot.  So, off we go on a 30ish degree day with a few flurries in the air to test this bike out.  I have to admit, I came back with a smile on my face.  The bike was brand new and had a custom Harley-Davidson© paint kit on it.  I liked it more than I cared to admit at the time.  As I was considering it, they mentioned that someone had a V-Rod© there on consignment with only 1800 miles on it, lots of chrome and lowered two inches front and rear.  I checked it out.  It was gorgeous.  I was in love.  The battery was a little low from sitting around for a bit, so we charged it up and hit the ignition.  Holy Shit!  What a bark from that exhaust.  This thing was obnoxiously loud.  It had to be mine.

Looking back, I met some amazing people over the course of my time at the dealership.  Since then I have met a ton of bikers and let me tell you that while there some bad eggs out there, there are some pretty damn good people out there on motorcycles.  During the summer, we ride every Wednesday night with an awesome group called No Destination run by an amazing woman named Patti.  I have made so many friends there and over the last five years or so in the motorcycle community.  I have been to many, many poker runs to raise money for people who lost family members, or have an illness racking up thousands of dollars in bills.  The Toys for Tots run in the late fall, where you will find 300 to 400 bikes no matter how cold the weather is, bringing toys for needy children and raising money to make sure these kids have a good Christmas.  Here is a pic I took at this year’s run at Brunswick Harley.

Toys For Tots

Toys For Tots

I have also been lucky enough to be a part of a few Patriot Guard Missions.  These bikers go to the funerals of soldiers that have served our country and died, or are killed in the line of duty.  It is an honor to be part of these rides, but heartbreaking to see these young men and women die so young fighting for our freedom.

Another group I am very proud to be a part of is a forum composed of some of my friends that were in a V-Rod© forum and it spun off a photography forum called Movie Photo Forums – a great forum if you are into photography and motorcycles.  Most of the active participants ride, and a bunch actually ride V-Rods©.  There are some incredibly talented members there and I am proud to be a part of it.  They have become like family to me.  I get a lot of inspiration for my photography from the members there.  A bunch of us met in Canandaigua last summer on the bikes and rode together.  We even spent some time shooting in the area while we were there.

I guess what I am getting at is looking back to when I was a sportbike guy and I stereotyped “bikers” I had no idea what I was talking about.  There truly are some amazing people out there.  Don’t judge.  I could write about this all day, but you’d probably get tired of reading and head out.  So I will end this with a pic of my bike and my girlfriend Rose’s bike -or the Cadillac- as i like to call it.  We take my Harley for local rides, and her “Cadillac” for trips to Canandaigua or Montreal.

Our bikes

Our bikes

A few pics I have taken of bikes over the last few years…

FJR in the Catskills

FJR in the Catskills

Chad's Victory

Chad's Victory

Custom Rocker

Custom Rocker

Geico bike

Geico bike