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Jun 25 2006

Patriot Guard Riders Bring Rick Monday Flag Through Oklahoma

Writing this post was difficult until I realized it was about two different overlapping stories: one unimportant all about me and one, the opposite, very important about people thinking only of others. The meaningful story follows immediately, while the me-me-me part, can be seen by clicking on "continue reading" at the end.

448-patriot-guard-riders.jpgThere are some sick twisted people in this world, but you wouldn't think there would be people so sick and twisted that they would protest at the funerals of fallen soldiers, yelling slogans and holding signs like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers." While families are simply trying to say a final goodbye to their child, spouse or daddy, these protesters are in their face laughing, cheering and spewing their hatred. At least they were...until the Patriot Guard Riders stepped in.

The Patriot Guard Riders are a nation wide group of motorcycle riders with the mission of attending the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family where they show their respect for our fallen heroes and their families while shielding the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by protesters using strictly legal and non-violent means.

449-fallen-hero-family.jpg

In conjunction with the 30th Anniversary of Rick Monday Saving the American Flag in center-field, Rick Monday's wife, Barbaralee Monday "Flag Babe," and her brother, James Casciari "Helmet Killer," are taking the actual flag that Rick Monday saved on a cross-country motorcycle tour while stopping to meet families which have been assisted by the Patriot Guard Riders. This is all being done to raise awareness and support for legislation to ban protesting near funerals. Some states have already passed laws, other states have pending legislation and there is also legislation pending in the U.S. Congress.

450-barbaralee-monday.jpg

I met up with some Patriot Guard Riders early this afternoon in Claremore, Oklahoma. The riders there subsequently received word that the already delayed procession, then still in Missouri, was further behind schedule and would not be stopping in Claremore, but would still be stopping in Chelsea, Oklahoma, although much later in the evening. The Chelsea stop couldn't be bypassed because they were scheduled to meet with the family of a fallen soldier for whom the Patriot Guard Riders had previously attend the funeral. We all regrouped after two hours and headed for Chelsea.

451-barbaralee-hug.jpgAfter a little wait, the Patriot Guard Arrived. The first order of business was getting out the flag that Rick Monday had saved from being burned as a protest in center field of Dodger Stadium on April 25, 1976. It was a little faded and a little tattered but still beautiful. Barbaralee and James posed with the flag and the family of the fallen soldier. Next everyone was given the opportunity to sign a banner which will be displayed on July 4th at Dodger Stadium before being presented to Rick Monday. Barbaralee and James then signed posters commemorating the 30th Anniversary of Rick Monday's save. Barbaralee even called her husband Rick on her cell phone and he spoke to the family of the fallen solder.

It was readily apparent why the tour kept falling behind schedule. Everyone who wanted a picture either with the flag or with Barbaralee was given the opportunity. The same for autographs with personalized messages, hugs and thank-yous. Despite being woefully behind schedule, no one went away disappointed.

452-patriot-guard-cycles.jpg

It should be noted that neither Mrs. Monday nor her brother, Mr. Casciari, are "riders" and that the tour has been incredibly exhausting on them both physically and emotionally. Despite this, they were very friendly and genuinely cared about all the people they met. They are passionate about getting legislation passed to protect families from protesters at funerals. They both proved themselves to be terrific people. Likewise, every one of the Patriot Guard Riders I met was friendly and helpful. It's people like these that make America great.

I've uploaded all of the photos I took to Flickr. Everyone is free to download and make copies as they wish.

453-monday-poster.jpgI can't help but wonder how much an impressionable ten year-old Chicago Cubs fan who grew up to love the American flag was influenced by a certain center fielder who thirty years ago saved the American flag from being burned? From that boyhood moment to just two months ago seeing the heroic event for the first time to now holding in my hands the actual flag that Rick Monday saved. It was an amazing thing...then and now.

Barbaralee Monday signed a copy of the commemorative poster: "To the Danz Family - Thanks for being such terrific fans! Go Cubbies! God Bless." James Casciari signed: "To the Danz Family, True Fans! Cubs Rule!!" And, Barbaralee signed for Rick Monday: "Glad to see we have such wonderful fans."

454-monday-phone-call.jpgAfter Rick Monday spoke to the family of the fallen soldier, they handed the phone back to Barbaralee who turned to me and asked if I wanted to talk to Rick Monday. The look on my face must have been something as some of the bikers around her cracked some pretty big grins. Yes, this ten year-old in a forty-year old's body would very much like to talk to Rick Monday. I told him about being a Cub fan and how much it meant to have one's childhood hero turn out to be such a great person and to be working for such a worthy cause. Monday said that it was simply wrong what they wanted to do the flag thirty years ago and it's wrong what the protesters want to do at funerals today. He also said that the true thanks go to the families of all the fallen soldiers.

455-rick-monday-flag.jpg

So, if not for hate filled protesters and jihadist madmen, I would not have gotten to meet a great group of Americans, talk to my boyhood hero and touch a piece of history. What an odd cross-road of people and events.

Posted by Don |

18 Comments

  1. #1
    elisejk said on June 26, 2006 | Reply

    Is this something or what! Just 10 days ago my significant other posted this on your website.

    [quote]
    Mr. Monday,

    I met you yesterday for the first time at Arlington National Cemetery. As you stepped up behind me with your wife, I wondered, “who was this well dressed gentleman and his wife. What were they doing joining us?” I wish I had known before you came down the line to shake our hands. Because then I could have properly welcomed you as a member of the Patriot Guard Riders. Thank you for your honorable actions back in 1976. Thank you for your service to this great nation. But more than that, thank you for joining us in honoring Sgt. Christopher M. Erberich.


    Posted by: Lone_Hawk at June 15, 2006 12:36 PM
    [/quote]

    Who would have thougth you'd actually get to met Mrs. Monday and touch the flag. I'm thrilled for you. Everything happens for a reason.

    Thank you for you website, it was the first one I found that I really liked when reading Mr. Monday's story.

    (p.s.) Yep I'm a proud member of The Patriot Guard Riders.

  2. #2
    TennVic said on June 26, 2006 | Reply

    Thanks for the coverage on your web-site.
    I too am a Patriot Guard Rider and had the Honor of escorting the Flags, Flag Babe and Helmet Killer across the Great State of Tennessee.
    This is a monumental task being performed by these two Patriots and the PGR.
    God speed and safe travel to them.
    TennVic

  3. #3
    Michael said on June 27, 2006 | Reply

    Hi

    Awesome website, and its good to see the Patriot Guard Riders in action. I'd also like to compliment you on an excellent website, both in terms of design, and especially content. Its good to meet lik minded people.

    By the way, my name is Michael, and I am the editor of Western World Politics, an un-apologetically
    pro-American and pro-freedom blog. We have recently moved to the new address of;

    http://thewwp.blogspot.com

    Please feel free to check us out sometime, as we are keen to build up links and working relationships with other like minded bloggers. If you wish to contact me, please feel free to do so at the e-mail address on the blog.

    Regards

    Michael, Editor Western World Politics

  4. #4
    Heather said on June 27, 2006 | Reply

    Hi. I just wanted to thank you for the wonderfull words about the PGR. I joined the Patriot Guard after they attended my brother in laws funeral. It has been a blessing getting to know these wonderfull people and being able to give back a little to other familys that have lost loved ones to this war. Flag Babe and Helmet Killer - toons are wonderfull people that I must say I was honored to meet and escort across the great state of Kentucky.

  5. #5
    Duane Enis said on June 30, 2006 | Reply

    Very nice website and PGR Patriot Express coverage. I was honored to provide escort service with the Flags and guests from the Indiana state line to Springfield, Illinois. It was a thrill to meet Flag Babe, Helmet Killer-Toons, Mr. Clamtop Capper and hold THAT FLAG as well as meet some other outstanding AMERICANS!! And the highlight of talking to Rick Monday, WOW! It must have be really extra special for you having been at the game!! Keep up the good work!!
    Duane/DueE/DooDah-DooDah

  6. #6
    Dave said on June 30, 2006 | Reply

    I'm a big fan of the PGR. I'm a little curious why you didn't mention who the protestors are, though, and what is driving them to protest these funerals. Fred Phelps and his "God hates fags" so-called church are among this life's prime candidates to burn in Hell.

  7. #7
    Don said on July 1, 2006 | Reply

    Dave, why wasn't Hitler mentioned in Schindler's List? Some people never noticed, to others it stood out like a sore thumb.

    Myself, I chose not to dirty my post with his name. I didn't think his mention or further explanation would add anything to what I was trying to do with the story.

    I'm also of the belief that Phelps' reasons are more complicated than simply his hatred for one specific group. For instance, he has made quite a lot of money with his little scheme though lawsuits against people who have prevented or interfered with his protests. As to the use of terms like "preacher" or "church" when discussing him, I would not use those terms anymore than I would have referred to him as a Democrat, a democratic candidate or democratic donor and supporter, all of which are technically accurate but unfair to all other democrats...precisely the same with calling him a preacher or his organization a church.

  8. #8
    Bugout said on July 2, 2006 | Reply

    Wow, what a web site. I am one of the Arizona PGR members that went through Arizona with the Monday's. Mr. Monday's Brother James and Robert the body guard. I was very fortunate to also ride with the newest Monday rider member, Ashley the daughter of Rick and Barbralee Monday. I was in a cage and James Casciari rode with me for part of the distance across Arizona because we ran into some very nasty weather and he wanted to get some pictures of the area. He is one terrific person.
    In Laughlin Nevada we had the honor of a surprise visit with Rick Monday and I am saying that Mr. Monday is one of the most Patriotic people I have ever met.

    "Bugout" PGR Member

  9. #9
    Norton said on July 5, 2006 | Reply

    Greetings from New Mexico,

    Myself, along with Cruzerr and Mudflap, had the distinct Honor of Escorting Barbaralee onto the field at Isotopes Stadium, in Albuquerque, for the pre-game ceremonies. I had the Stars and Stripes and the 101st Airborne Flag flying from my bike. Cruzerr had the Stars and Stripes and the POW/MIA Flag flying from his bike, and Mudflap had Barbaralee as a passenger on his bike. Both of the Celebrated Flags were held up on the Field, and recognized for their significance, prior to Barbaralee throwing out the Ceremonial First Pitch.
    We all were very Honored to have had the privilege of being a part of this most monumentous event.
    A very Heartfelt Thanks to All that made this possible.
    Thank You for such a Wonderful site to post my comments. We were but a small contribution to a Massive Undertaking.
    Norton
    Land Of The Free...Thanks To The Brave.

  10. #10
    leonard wahl said on July 10, 2006 | Reply

    Arlington! Patriot Riders! American Flags! Cindy Sheehan coming to Crawford, Texas August 14th, 2006 - September 2nd, 2006. Demanding a total pullout of Iraq! I am not pro or con to Iraq and or Afghanistan. However, I'm a father of fallen soldier US ARMY Sgt. Gregory L. Wahl KIA Balad, Iraq 05-03=04!

    During this time frame. I encourage every AMERICAN! To come to Crawford sometime during this time frame. Join me to SUPPORT OUR TROOPS! Time the American Citizens stand united for its SOLDIERS serving our COUNTRY. Cindy Sheehan has a right to her viewpoint! She does not speak for every American, Veteran from Iraq, Afghanistan, our wounded soldiers, of our fallen soldiers,and the families. By coming out to SUPPORT OUR TROOPS. That Cindy Sheehan will get the message. Using your son's name to draw attention to your long cause is wrong. Our Vietnam Veterans experienced disrepect pulling out before the mission was under control. Doing that now will disgrace our soldiers and our country. So I urge those that view your site. Will come join us.

  11. #11
    roger leath said on July 11, 2006 | Reply

    after seeing the protesters in co. i don't see how they could be a real christian church protesting at a funural is sick just as low as hitler in my book 5 more years n saddam would have been there but as a vet and christian you have to have respect for the dead i wish they and sheanan or whats her name would all leave the usa,we need to support american's first feed the poor,free medical,dental but it goes where?sorry i got carried away i get mad at how so much is given to others but left out in the cold here.god bless the soldiers both living and wounded.

  12. #12
    Rose said on August 5, 2006 | Reply

    I was on this escort mission from Springfield, IL to St Louis--just a day after Rick Monday was on talk radio talking about the escort on the Hannity Show (a guest host day). Barbralee handed me her cell phone to talk to Rick, who was in CA, while we were in St Louis. It was a pleasure speaking with an American Hero who had the courage to do the right thing. What a memory I'll have about her and the whole group. If I’d seen this flag flying, you’d say it is old and should be retired but it was a rescued flag from a premature retirement. This flag shall never retire! ~ Rose

  13. #13
    Phil said on August 6, 2006 | Reply

    As a life member of the VFW, and my Posts Honors Team it was my pleasure to meet the PGR and Barbralee during their stop in the Grand Canyon, June 27-28. It was great to see some have the courage to do what our elected officials don't have the balls to do and overturn the the supreme court ruling allowing the flag burning. Keep up the good work and Don't Let Us Forget Rick's heroics that day. As you all are aware most americans have very short memories. You all have my utmost respect.

  14. #14
    leonard wahl said on August 9, 2006 | Reply

    Once again we are heading back to CRAWFORD August 14th - 22nd, 2006 American Pride come out Support Our Troops / Honor Our Wounded and Fallen Soldiers. Sister Sheehan is in Crawford now! So I urge everyone to come out in SUPPORT of your soldiers! Honest truth: Sister Sheehan can not deal with anyone SUPPORTING OUR TROOPS! While she attemting every way to use the MEDIA. I am neither pro or con of the war, nor did I vote for President Bush in either election. Yet, I do SUPPORT whom ever OUR PRESIDENT. Terrorism has hit home long before 911! everyone forget the World Trade Center was attack in the 80's. Same group of terrorist! I did n't vote for Clinton. But, he was my President and I supported him. Americans need to wake up and win OUR COUNTRY BACK! Start with coming out to support your soldiers now serving in harms way. These soldiers are somebodies someone and should be someone to every American!

  15. #15
    Tim Spaulding said on June 27, 2007 | Reply

    I love this article on Rick Monday, what an incredible play!

  16. #16
    Don and Jodi Howard said on August 3, 2007 | Reply

    Hello, what a warm and captivating website. Your memories are wonderfully displayed. I need some help and guidance from anyone who can help. As a long time Brooklyn and LA Dodger Fan I now work with the V.F.W. Post 7650 in Philadelphia. These patriotic men are in awe of the saving of this flag that means so much to our country. I wanted to purchase a copy of the poster commemorating this event and have been searching for months with no progress. I wanted to have Mr. Monday sign it when the Dodgers come to Philly on August 22, 2007. Can someone please help me? Also, there was a commemorative poster that was supposed to be given out for the Campers vs. Dodger greats at the November 2006 Fantasy camp in Vero Beach. Only a handful of these posters that were to be given out as us fans went through gates were actually available. This small thank you to these vets at the VFW would mean so much, Thank you and God Bless

  17. #17
    Brian McClure said on August 18, 2007 | Reply

    I live in the small town of McEwen TN. Our town suffered the lose of a 19 yr soldier. I had the privalidge of witnessing the Patriot Riders, and it made me feel good to know they were there. I would just like to say God bless the Patriot Riders,and keep up the good work.

  18. #18
    dan said on January 11, 2009 | Reply

    What a great story and followup with the Patriot Guard Riders.

    Rick appears to be holding either an enlarged copy of the photo (maybe photoshopped) or a painting. Does anyone know where to find it?

    S/F
    dan

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