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High School Essay “A person or experienced that had an effect on your life” from my 16 year old son.

About 3 years ago, my dad purchased his first motorcycle and since that purchase, he has joined a biker group called the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR). After a couple of months with the PGR, my dad asked me if I would like to attend a “mission” with him. I said “sure” not realizing at the time what an affect this mission would have on my life.

My dad and I got to the meeting place about an hour before we were supposed to go to the airfield and about 2 hours before the soldier arrived and there were about 6 other bikers there. I was amazed that by the time we were ready to go to the airfield, there were about 75 bikers ready to show their support. On most of the bikes, there were huge American flags and patriotic decals. We then proceeded to go through the military base and all of the soldiers stood at attention as we processed through the base. I thought to myself “why are they saluting us? They should be the ones getting the recognition.”

All of this was very inspiring to me but the best had yet to come. When we arrived at the runway, all of the bikers, including me, stood in a line along the runway while holding American flags. As I looked down the line, I was amazed at how many people there were.

While waiting in the line, I had learned that the family of the soldier was being escorted to the airfield by another section of the PGR and that there were close to 100 bikers with the group. The number of people that attend these missions is amazing because this is all volunteer work and people go out of their way to honor our soldiers. When the family arrived with their escort, the plane was almost there. Quickly, the 100 or so other bikers got more flags and stood with us in a flag line while we waited for the soldier. When the soldier arrived, the plane parked right in front of us and 6 marines brought the soldier off the plane and into the hearse. Then both sections of the PGR, the family were led to the funeral home by the hearse.

While we were leaving the base, I wondered how we would stick together on the highway with such a large amount of bikes. My questions were quickly answered when we turned onto GA 400 and it was empty. This highway is as important to this area of Georgia as the Long Island Expressway and the Grand Central Pkwy are to Long Island. The police had blocked off the entrance ramp so that we would be able to have an appropriate escort for this fallen soldier. As we traveled down the highway, people on the other side of the highway and on the entrance ramps had stopped and gotten out of their cars to pay their respects. They did this by either placing their hands across their chests or, for the vets, saluting. All this was very emotional for me. When we finely got off the highway, the town where the funeral home is was all shut down and people were lining the sidewalks with American flags. These people lined the streets all the way up to the funeral home where we left the soldier and went home.

That day was really special for me because it showed me that these people who are patrolling our boarders and fighting for our country deserve the kind of respect and appreciation that that soldier received on that day. This soldier was not a lieutenant or general. He was just a regular soldier who gave his life for our country.

From that day forward I have grown to have a greater appreciation for our soldiers. I have gone on several other missions with the PGR but none of them will have as big as an affect as my first mission.

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