“We all die.”
That is true, even obvious. And cliché. But when I last saw Mike, he seemed an unlikely candidate. A soldier in the mid-1970s, he still exhibited a warrior’s bearing.
Mike on August 5, 2008, 948 days before his funeral.
Sometimes I go down the flagline getting portraits of each PGRider so that history will record that they were there. I try to set the focus on the chin whiskers because if they are sharp, everything else will be too. One day in the summer of ’08 I was moving quickly down the line when Mike Coveny was among the flag-holders. Years later, that photo would be used on the plaque the Patriot Guard presented to his family in memory of our Ride Captain.
Usually our flagline honors a fellow American – for some of us, a fellow warrior. This time he was a fellow PGRider.
The Fred C. Dames Funeral Home is 68 miles from my home, but this was the third time I would travel there for a funeral.
We were briefed and took our positions.
Most of us would remain outside.
We also lined both side of two halls leading to the chapel. This is one of those halls.
The visitation was the previous day so we stood only while people were arriving for the service.
Some of us went ahead to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. The rest of us waited to take our place behind Mike’s bike and truck.
I took a position on a small hill east of the funeral home. After a short time, the procession approached. It was led by a police car and a car from the funeral home.
Then Mike’s bike,
then Mike’s truck,
then two riders,
and then Mike and his family.
Then, on this cool but clear March morning, the guests of the family followed. We were the first of the guests.
KIAs draw more public attention, and all processions are sobering experiences, but this time the soldier came from our own platoon,
our own squad.
The Patriot Guard Riders will carry on in his absence.
The PGR is full of patriots like Mike.
We all die, but from this day on, Mike will be present at every mission.
Mike and Greg, both.
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