"The family of United States Army Veteran George Manis, Jr. of Kenosha, Wisconsin has asked the Patriot Guard Riders to stand for him as he stood for us. George passed away on May 7, 2011 at the age of 26 years, and had served in the United States Army from October, 2004 to November, 2007. George was a Sergeant in the 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Brigade and served in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from June, 2006 until shortly before his discharge in November, 2007.  He was the recipient of numerous commendations as the result of his dedicated service to the United States of America. George leaves behind a loving family and many friends, and the Patriot Guard Riders are honored by this invitation."


I received that message in an email four days ago.  This morning I followed the bikes up Route 83. 




I was early but many arrived bfore me.  Some of us carried photos of our sons.









breif and






Always pledge and prayer.



And then down to business.



George had a lonely 15-month tour in Iraq a few years ago.



He is not alone anymore.



After the service began, we learned more about the escort to Wisconsin.



Then we lined-up for a photo.  Family's request.



Otherwise we wouldn't pose.  Its not about us.



Then there was time to think about George.



This was his "welcome home".



"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."



And then I started walking back to my ride.  Scott Phillips caught up to me and asked if I were a Patriot Guard Rider.  We talked for a minute.

Scott went to war with the 101st.  He was blown-up by an IED and will be discharged soon with permenent sciatic nerve damage.  He must manage the pain for the rest of his life but he was here for George today.

He wanted to know how he could arrange "welcome homes" for his buddies.  He didn't get one.




Welcome home, Scott.

Welcome home, George.










PostScript:  RIDE CAPTAIN'S MISSION REPORT - On this sunny, breezy, and cool 17th day of May, 2011 in Northeast Illinois and Southeast Wisconsin, approximately 40 members of the Patriot Guard Riders in two states rode and stood as one to honor the dedicated service of Army Veteran Sergeant George Manis, Jr. to the United States of America. We heard about the human side of George's service during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and we learned of his desire to return to service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. It was, as it always is, humbling. With the support of the Lake County (IL) Sheriff's Office; the Lake Villa (IL) Police Department; the Antioch (IL) Police Department; the Lindenhurst (IL) Police Department; the Illinois Secretary of State Police; the Kenosha County (WI) Sheriff's Office; and the Racine County (WI) Sheriffs Office, George was escorted to his final resting place at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery. That is a home of honor and dignity, and it is fitting that George is there among all of the other men and women who have served our Nation so honorably and dutifully. To be there was, at is always is, humbling. Our gratitude to George for his service to our Nation is enduring and his memory as a defender of freedom will be eternal. May he now rest in peace.