Tag Archive: vietnam


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

A few nights ago, the TCRPMG members had a model shoot in Hudson, NY.  As we were shooting, my eye wandered up an enormous flag pole to see the flag among this gorgeous blue sky.  I couldn’t help but shoot it.  It was so gorgeous.

You see, ever since I was a kid, I have been in love with the flag that represents this great country of ours.  I always try to get good shots of it to share.  That flag represents our freedom.  That flag represents those risking their lives so we may keep our freedom.  Many have given their lives for us. Unfortunately, a lot of people take that freedom for granted.

Kristi was tweeting and talking on Facebook the other day about people that wouldn’t stop talking during the National Anthem.  It made me pretty mad.  I have noticed that people have become incredibly rude and just don’t care anymore.  And it’s not only during the National Anthem.  There have been a few instances where I was probably sitting in my chair with my mouth wide open, amazed at how rude people are.

My cousin’s wedding was a great example.  My cousin and his wife were at the altar and the priest was doing conducting the ceremony.  There was a crowd of people in the back of the room that were carrying on a loud conversation.  I was getting pretty angry.  They were disrupting the service and didn’t even care.

Last week, at Baseball and Bloggers, the panel was speaking and the people in the back of the room were so loud I could barely hear the speakers.  It baffles me that this is becoming so common.  Why would you go to an event and ignore the lecture just to chat with your friends?  Pick up the phone and call them.  Go to a bar.

I know that I have no control over the way people act in public.  I am just saddened by the lack of respect that seems to have become OK in society.  What happened?  I can only assume it’s because parents can’t (or wont) discipline their kids anymore.  The world is going to be a very scary place in another twenty years.

Now that my whining is over, I want to add one more thing.  Find a Vietnam Veteran, an Iraq Veteran or a current military member and thank them for protecting this great country of ours.  It’s because of them that we have the freedom we have.  And don’t forget all of those that have lost their life fighting for us and those that are POW-MIA.

See ya soon.

I am hoping to start writing more about motorcycles in the near future.  I want to try and help raise awareness as much as possible about bikers and clear up some of the stereotypes out there.  For this blog, I wanted to let people know about the good things bikers do for the community.

Over the last few years, I have been a part in many fundraisers as a biker.  Most of the fundraisers are Poker Runs.  Poker Runs are when a large group of bikers get together and ride to raise money for someone in need.  It may be for a fallen biker, a child with a rare disease, or perhaps a biker’s child that has cancer.  A Poker Run is a ride where each biker pays a fee for the rider and a passenger should they have one.  They then go to three more stops before returning to the starting point.  At each stop, they get a card.  At the end of the ride, whoever has the best hand wins a prize.

Last year, a group I ride with every Wednesday night during the warmer months did a poker run for a member’s daughter.  She was diagnosed with cancer and the ride was to raise money to help with medical bills.  In the months leading up to the Poker Run, members of the group went to local businesses looking for donations to help raise money by entering those prizes in a silent raffle.  There was also a 50/50 raffle the day of the ride.  If you are unfamiliar with a 50/50 raffle, tickets are sold throughout the day.  At the drawing, 50% of the money from tickets sold, goes to the fundraiser, and the person with the winning raffle ticket gets the other 50%.

After the ride was over, we met back at our usual meeting place and had dinner and a band played for us.  People entered into a silent auction for the prizes that had been donated, hopeful they would be the winner.  At the end of the night, the money was tallied up.  The group had raised nearly $8,000 dollars for this young girl’s medical bills.  It is an amazing feeling to be part of that.

Riding in a group that large takes focus and cooperation.  Everyone should know the rules of riding in a group.  There are guidelines and hand signals that you must know to keep everyone safe.  The bikes behind the lead bike are blockers (if used).  The blockers stop traffic that could come from side streets and split the pack up, keeping everyone safe.  The riders behind the blockers and through the rest of the pack must ride in a staggered position.  If the riders do not stagger and ride side by side, it could be dangerous.  Should one of the bikes have to swerve to miss a pothole or dead animal in the road, there is a chance they could take out the rider next to them and then cause a chain reaction.  Because of this, the bikers are to ride one bike on the right, and one bike just behind on the left, then one just behind that one on the right and so on and so forth.

In the back of the pack, there are a few sweepers.  The job of the sweepers is to pull over with anyone in the pack should they have an engine problem.  The sweeper will then assist them in getting back on the road, or calling for help.  If all of these things are done correctly, the pack will be safe and no accidents will happen.  Here is a chart I found with the proper hand signals for riding in groups;

Group Riding Hand Signals

Group Riding Hand Signals

Imagine this, if you will.  You are in a pack of 100 motorcycles, riding to raise money for someone in need.  In front of you, you see bikes for a mile.  When you look in your mirror, the same thing.  It is a feeling I will never forget.

I want to make the public more aware that all bikers aren’t bad guys.  Sure, there are some that are.  But a good portion of the bikers that participate in these events are Vietnam Veterans who risked their lives fighting for our freedom.  They deserve a huge thank you for all they do for the community.  If you see a Vet, please thank them for the freedoms we have today…

**Image Courtesy of Group Riding Hand Signals