…Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget

to fight for our rights back at home while we're gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
to know you remember we fought and we bled

is payment enough, and with that we will trust
that we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

 

 

 

 

 

 

The experiences of one Patriot Guard Rider:

 

 

 

 

Charles Oetjen, Blue Island, IL

 

 

flagline etiquette

 

 

Chris Patterson, #2

 

 

Joshua Wheeler, Roland, OK

 

 

Louis Rodriguez, Winthrop Harbor, IL

 

 

Joe Gliniewicz, Antioch, IL

 

 

Kenneth Worthey, Grayslake, IL

 

 

Russell Janson, Tampa, FL

 

 

Carson Holmquist, Grantsburg, WI

 

 

Joey Dimock street dedication

 

 

DuBeau & Nerstrom, Friendly Fire

 

 

John Curran, Wisconsin State Captain

 

 

Jason Wick, Kenosha, WI

 

 

Nikolaus Hoffmann, Antioch, IL

 

 

Peter Cortopassi, Glen Ellyn, IL

 

 

Alfred Stroh, Lake Bluff, IL

 

 

Albert Dorn, Mundelein, IL

 

 

13000 pounds of steel and concrete

 

 

Aaron Toppen, Mokena, IL

 

 

Steven Hancock, Coal City, IL 

 

 

719 MDVS, Fort Sheridan, IL

 

 

Richard Plenkers, Darlington, WI

 

 

Jeremiah Collins, Milwaukee, WI 

 

 

933rd MPs, Fort Sheridan, IL

 

 

Anne & Martin, River Forest & Boston

 

 

Daniel Lisowski, Waukesha, WI

 

 

Christopher Antonik, #3

 

 

Dion Roberts, North Chicago, IL 

 

 

J. Christopher Stevens

 

 

John Tipsword, Rolling Meadows, IL

 

 

Thomas Lawrence, Racine, WI      ip

 

 

Ryan Kennedy, Oak Lawn, IL      ip

 

 

James Kurtzodyna, Fox Lake, IL       ip

 

 

Michael Ristau, Cascade, IA

 

 

Jamie Ford, Forreston, IL

 

 

John Larimer, Crystal Lake, IL

 

 

Heroes on Horses, Oregon, IL

 

 

Jeremy Gonzalez, Lawton, IL

 

 

Lake Bluff Fourth of July Parade  

 

 

Tom Boyle, Barrington, IL 

 

 

John Minich, Chicago (All Saints), IL

 

 

Sam Watts, Wheaton, IL

 

 

Bowe Bergdahl #3 

 

 

Bruce Clark, Addison, MI

 

 

Benjamin Neal, Orfordville, WI  ip

 

 

David Nowaczyk, Dyer, IN  ip

 

 

Alex Martinez, Elgin, IL  ip

 

 

Ann and John

 

 

Dennis Weichel, Providence, RI

 

 

Jesse Grindey, Hazel Green, WI

 

 

Conner Lowry, Chicago (West Beverly), IL 

 

 

Josh and Dan

 

 

Christopher and Andrew

 

 

Tomb of the Unknowns

 

 

David Johnson, Horicon, WI

 

 

pdf celebrating the 25 Darkhorse Immortals

 

 

Nathan McHone, Crystal Lake, IL

 

 

nail polish update

 

 

personal note

 

 

Christopher Patterson, Aurora, IL

 

 

Negotiating with terrorists

 

 

Bikes at red lights in Illinois

 

 

Daniel Graham, Union Grove, WI

 

 

Zach Reiff, Preston, IA ip

 

 

Chapter 10:  Appurtenances

 

 

Adam Dobereiner, Moline, IL

 

 

Nick Daniels, Elmwood Park, IL  ip

 

 

David Robinson, Winthrop Harbor, IL  ip

 

 

3/5 and the AAA rating

 

 

Jared Stanker, #2

 

 

James Butz, Porter, IN

 

 

Jakob Roelli, Darlington, WI

 

 

Mark and Austin and Ethan

 

 

Dan Shanower, Pentagon

 

 

Steve Jacobson, World Trade Center

 

 

62 homeless/familyless veterans have died  ip

 

 

1500 pounds of steel and concrete 1500.html

 

 

Andrew Tobin, Jacksonville, IL  ip

 

 

Welcome Home PFC Bulger & PFC Scott

 

 

Owen Stuckey leading the Mike Coveny funeral procession

 

 

Six Seals

 

 

a dog and 30 other Americans, Tangi Valley

 

 

Joshua Throckmorton, Battle Creek, MI

 

 

Jeff Mellinger, United States, America

 

 

Tyler Kreinz, Beloit, WI

 

 

America’s children 84thousand.html

 

 

Afghanistan troop levels

 

 

Michael Olivieri, Homer Glen, IL

 

 

Leroy Petry, father of four

 

 

Patrick O’Leary aka Gus

 

 

Memorial Day in Door County

 

 

George Manis, Kenosha, WI

 

 

Two United States Marines

 

 

Bowe Bergdahl #2

 

 

the Families of Warriors

 

 

Eight United States airmen

 

 

Five United States soldiers

 

 

Andrew Wade, Antioch, IL

 

 

Mike Coveny, Joliet, IL

 

 

Daren Hidalgo, Waukesha, WI

 

 

ILPGR Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Wall

 

 

the 105 members of OUR church

 

 

regarding the Westboro church

 

 

#24, Lehigh, FL

 

 

Mike Bartley, Fairfield, IL ip

 

 

Richard Kosydor, Union Grove, WI

 

 

#23, Hutto, TX

 

 

Kenny Corzine, Bethalto, IL

 

 

Jose Maldonado, Mathis, TX

 

 

Jason Peto, Vancouver, WA

 

 

Colton Rusk, Orange Grove, TX

 

 

Derek Wyatt, Akron, OH

 

 

Bill Schrock, Eliza, IL

 

 

Matthew Abbate, Clovis, CA

 

 

Jacob Gassen, Beaver Dam, WI

 

 

William Donnelly IV, Picayune, MS

 

 

Arden Joseph Buenagua, San Jose, CA

 

 

Scott Nagorski, Greenfield, WI ip

 

 

James Stack, Arlington Heights, IL ip

 

 

Veterans Day in Polo

 

 

Robert Kelly, Tallahassee, FL

 

 

James Young, Rochester, IL

 

 

Andrew Meari, Plainfield, IL ip

 

 

Charles Sadell, Weston, MO

 

 

Christopher Antonik, #2

 

 

Darkhorse

 

 

Eric Newman, Waynesboro, MS

 

 

Justin Cain, Manitowoc, WI ip

 

 

Alec Catherwood, Byron, IL ip

 

 

John Sparks, Chicago (Gresham), IL ip

 

 

Captain Neff, Fort Drum, NY

 

 

Patriot’s Day in Milwaukee

 

 

First of the 119th Field Artillery 119.html

 

 

Adam Novak, Prairie du Sac, WI ip

 

 

Chad Coleman, Hales Corners, WI

 

 

Robert Newton, Creve Coeur, IL

 

 

Christopher Boyd, Palatine, IL

 

 

Kevin Oratowski, Wheaton, IL

 

 

Westboro update

 

 

420th Trans. Co., Ft. Sheridan, IL

 

 

Mission focus

 

 

Frederik Vazquez, Melrose Park, IL

 

 

patriotguard.org was down three weeks.

 

 

Anibal Santiago, Elgin, IL

 

 

Justus Bartelt, Polo, IL

 

 

Joseph Dimock II, Wildwood, IL

 

 

Christopher Antonik, Crystal Lake, IL

 

 

patriotguard.org is down again.

 

 

Glen & Nathan Nofsinger, Bartlett, IL

 

 

Gary Smith, Grayslake, IL

 

 

Gunnar Hotchkin, Naperville, IL

 

 

James Hunter, Waukegan, IL

 

 

Justin Cloe, Inverness, IL

 

 

WDC, Memorial Day, 2010

 

 

ALNC, Memorial Day, 2010 alnc.html

 

 

Jason Lawalton, Forreston, IL

 

 

patriotguard.org was down for a week.

 

 

This is what killed Tom Wortham.

 

 

Thomas Wortham, Chicago, (Chatham), IL

 

 

Paul Bartz, Waterloo, WI

 

 

Paint your nail, go to jail.

 

 

Trial began Monday.

 

 

Camp Salerno again – Pedro Medina

 

 

Curtis Swenson, Rochester, MN

 

 

Camp Salerno, Afghanistan

 

 

Robert Rieckhoff, Kenosha, WI

 

 

Joseph Olbinski, Marengo, IL ip

 

 

Joshua Birchfield, Westville, IN

 

 

Bravo Company, again

 

 

League of the Righteous, again

 

 

I chose to do a very stupid thing.

 

 

Kyle Wright, Romeoville, IL

 

 

Jamie Lowe, Johnsonville, IL

 

 

Jacob Meinert, Fort Atkinson, WI

 

 

485th Engineers Deployment

 

 

Lora Hunt wore clear nail polish today.

 

 

Happy New Year

 

 

Robert Howard, Waco, TX

 

 

Albert Ware, Chicago (Pullman), IL

 

 

Ken Nichols, Chrisman, IL

 

 

Nobel Peace Prize

 

 

Jason McLeod, Crystal Lake, IL

 

 

Thanksgiving

 

 

Nidal Hasan, the Depths of Hell

 

 

Francheska Velez, Humboldt Park (Chicago), IL

 

 

Michael Pearson, Bolingbrook, IL

 

 

Jared Stanker, Evergreen Park, IL

 

 

Devin Michel, Stockton, IL

 

 

Chris Rudzinski, Rantoul, IL

 

 

Chris Shaw, Markham, IL

 

 

Matthew Martinek, Genoa, IL

 

 

Greg Bowman #2

 

 

Robert Wienger #2

 

 

Jon Dreymann, Algonquin, IL

 

 

Bowe Bergdahl, Ketchum, ID (not dead)

 (POW since June 30, 2009)

 

 

Derwin Williams, Glenwood, IL

 

 

Steven Drees, Peshtigo, WI

 

 

Paul Smith, East Peoria, IL

 

 

Lake Bluff Memorial Day Ceremony

 

 

Luke Saczek, Lake in the Hills, IL

 

 

Anita Zaffke, Lake Zurich, IL (not military)

 (Trial begins Monday, May 3rd)

 

 

16th PSYOPS Battalion, Fort Sheridan, IL

 

 

Robert Weinger, Wauconda, IL

 

 

Christopher Abeyta, Midlothian, IL

 

 

Norman Cain, Oregon, IL

 

 

Simone Robinson, Robbins, IL

 

 

Schuyler Patch, Kewanee, IL

 

 

Scott Stream, Mattoon, IL

 

 

Jared Southworth, Oakland, IL

 

 

Roberto Andrade, Phoenix, AZ

 

 

Matthew Medlicott, Waukegan, IL

 

 

Kevin Grieco, Winfield, IL

 

 

Nick Casey, Canton, OH

 

 

John Penich, Beach Park, Illinois

 

 

Christopher Bartkiewicz, Canton, IL

 

 

Leonard Gulczynski, Carol Stream, IL

 

 

Anthony Mihalo, Naperville, IL  (2004)

 

 

Anthony Mihalo, Naperville, IL  (2008)

 

 

Mothers

 

 

David Badie, Rockford, IL

 

 

Robert LeClair, Kankakee, IL

 

 

Clinton Callahan, Great Lakes

 

 

Mitchell Young, Fayetteville, NC

 

 

Pruitt Rainey, Burlington, NC

 

 

Jack Otto, Racine, WI

 

 

Travis Hunsberger, Nappanee, IN

 

 

Lake Bluff Independence Day Parade

 

 

Dawid Pietrek, Bensenville, IL

 

 

Howard Marshall, Lombard, IL

 

 

our friend from Westboro

 

 

Blake Evans, Rockford, IL

 

 

Chicago Memorial Day Parade

 

 

Christopher Frost  #2

 

 

Keith Nurnberg  #2

 

 

Fort McCoy

 

 

Robert Ochsner, Beach Park, IL

 

 

Christopher Frost, Waukesha, WI

 

 

Albert Bitton, Rogers Park (Chicago), IL

 

 

Julianna Gehant, Mendota, IL

 

 

David Schultz, Blue Island, IL

 

 

Keith Lloyd, Milwaukee, WI

 

 

Timothy Hanson, Kenosha, WI

 

 

Jason Lemke, West Allis, WI

 

 

They scoot together.

 

 

Dariusz Sadkowski, Mount Prospect, IL

 

 

DeWayne White, Country Club Hills, IL

 

 

Christian Skoglund, Racine, WI

 

 

16th PSYOPS Battalion, Fort Sheridan, IL

 

 

432nd CIVAFF Battalion, Green Bay, WI

 

 

Jason Lee, Fruitport, MI

 

 

Joe Vanek, Elmhurst, IL

 

 

Ashley Seitsma, Dekalb, IL

 

 

Joshua Brennan, Madison, WI

 

 

Happy Birthday, Shirley.

 

 

Rachel Hugo, Monona, WI

 

 

Dale DeVries, Elmhurst, IL

 

 

Nick Patterson, Rochester, IN

 

 

Greg Bowman, Princeton, IL

 

 

                  Keith Nurnberg, Genoa City, WI

 

 

Randol Shelton, Schiller Park, IL

 

 

Derek Dobogai, Fond du Lac, WI

 

 

Phillip Brodnick, New Lenox, IL

 

 

Justin Penrod, Danville, IL

 

 

                  Andrew Lancaster, Stockton, IL

 

 

                  Change of Command

 

 

Michael Wiltz, Downers Grove, IL

 

 

Matthew Zindars, Watertown, WI

 

 

Joshua Maginn, Kenosha, WI

 

 

Tom Bernardy, Zion, IL

 

 

Eric Lill, Bridgeport (Chicago), IL

 

 

it is my duty to my Country to love it

 

 

Eric Palmer, Maize, KS

 

 

Karen Clifton, Decatur, IL

 

 

Albert Hajduk, Libertyville, IL

 

 

                  Michael Pittman, Davenport, IA

 

 

John Sligting, Round Lake, IL

 

 

Robert Liggett, Urbana, IL

 

 

Ben Desilets, Elmwood, IL

 

 

Daniel Courneya, Nashville, MI

 

 

                  David Kirkpatrick, Upland, IN

 

 

                  Nicholas Riehl, Shiocton, WI

 

 

                  Hugo

 

 

                  Robert Basham, Kenosha, WI

 

 

                  Oliver Lambert, Gurnee, IL

 

 

Daniel Zizumbo, Elsdon (Chicago), IL

             

 

Louis Kim, Orland Park, IL

 

 

Kevin Landeck, Wheaton, IL

 

 

Matthew Grimm, Wisconsin Rapids, WI

 

 

William Newgard, Arlington Heights, IL

 

 

Christopher Swanson, Lincolnwood (Chicago), IL

 

 

Jason Denfrund, Gurnee, IL

 

 

Evan Bixler, Racine, WI

 

 

Jack Valentine, Zion, IL

 

 

Rhett Schiller, Burlington, WI

 

 

Edwardo Lopez, Aurora, IL church, cemetery

 

 

Ryan Haupt, Franklin Park, IL

 

 

Jonathan Rojas, Hammond, IN

 

 

Aaron Seal, Elkhart, IN

 

 

Allen Rioux, Zion, IL

 

 

Robert Paul of Skokie, IL

 

 

Jacob Ortiz of Camp Douglas, WI

 

 

Shaun Novak of Two Rivers, WI

 

 

Timothy Mackenzie of Elmhurst, IL

 

 

Adam Servais of Onalaska, WI

 

 

Ryan Jopek of Merrill, WI

 

 

Daniel Crabtree of Akron, OH

 

 

Jeffrey McLochlin, Rochester, IN

 

 

Ryan Cummings, Streamwood, IL

 

 

Caleb Lufkin, Knoxville, IL

 

 

Shane Mahaffee, Gurnee, IL

 

 

Edward Davis, Waukegan, IL

 

 

Philip Martini, Lansing, IL

 

 

Antoine McKinzie, Indianapolis, IN

 

 

Nyle Yates of Grand Ledge, MI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A SOLDIER'S CHRISTMAS

 

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
in perfect contentment, or so it would seem.
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
and I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
to the window that danced with a warm fire's light
then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"Its my duty to stand at the front of the line,
that separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

“My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

“I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.”
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red white and blue... an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,

“I can carry the weight of killing another
or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers
who stand at the front against any and all,
to insure for all time that this flag will not fall.

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget

To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
to know you remembered we fought and we bled

is payment enough, and with that we will trust
that we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

  © Poem Copyright December 7, 2000 by Michael Marks

 

 

 

 

Words & pics © Donald E. Russ

 deruss at msn dot com

 

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