[...] Carrying American flags or displaying them on the back of motorcycles and cars, more than 100 members of the Patriot Guard Riders attended the funeral of Army Spc. Joshua Lee Hill at Madison-Grant High School on Wednesday.
They came to pay their respects to Hill's family and to shield them from a planned protest by Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church.
As my friend Jen would say, "thank god for bikers." I say, "thank god for Vietnam vets."
Church members said they would be at Hill's funeral, and on Wednesday evening church officials said about eight protesters stood near the high school with protest signs, drawing honks or gestures of disagreement from drivers.
People of pure hatred!
"If they were there, they were hiding behind a sea of American flags, because that's all we saw," said Indiana State Police Sgt. Rod Russell. State police and several other local agencies were at the funeral directing traffic and ensuring a peaceful afternoon.
My friend Rodney would know.
Pastor Mick Simpkins opened his parking lot and fellowship hall to the Patriot Guard Riders. He weaved among the leather-clad men and women, shaking hands and reminding them of hot coffee inside.
"We would be in agreement with what they're doing," Simpkins said. "We feel it is an atrocity for people to be protesting a funeral service like that, and what is interesting to us is it is a Baptist church that has organized these efforts against the funeral. We kind of wanted to counter that as a Baptist church."