I wanted to be there by 2:00 and it was 10 minutes from my home, so I left at noon.

So did a few others.

I write this three days after-the-fact.  Yesterday we learned of Michael Olivieri who died in Baghdad, Iraq two days ago.

Patrick O'Leary -- who goes by "Gus" -- was coming home from Afghanistan for a break.  Professional warriors live with danger; and death.  He faced the danger and he would soon be going back to face it again.  He knew it, his family knew it and the PGRiders knew it.

But we weren't going to worry about it.

We dominated the oasis, especially the northbound parking area.  Others must have wondered why we had gathered there, what all the flags were for and why the deputies had allowed us to park in the "bus only" space.  But there we were on a beautiful Saturday.  One of our younger members was working his Nintendo DS.

Mike was wearing his 2/1 shirt.  Same battalion, 45 years earlier.

Cass noticed visitors surveying our group from a distance, so she invited them in.

And then she helped them to remember us.

I followed her example when a couple of interlopers posed at the police bike.

Dave wore his marooniest hat to captain this mission.

Rob helped at the breifing.

The relieable Jeff and Eve.

And the new guys.

It is always such a pleasure to see the familiar face of my neighbors who I know are good people.

I know they are good people because they are here.

Once again we pledged our allegiance.

And then we happily waited in our flagline.

And then, there he was.  A deputy sheriff got the first handshake.

Our Ride Captain got a shake and an embrace.

And family came forward to embrace him every possible way.

Think about it.  These are the infantrymen we send to war.

Within our society, large segments of people have isolated themselves from the realities of the world we must all live in.  They talk only to each other and wish not to be challenged in their prejudices.  They believe that any external source of information that contradicts their own worldview is mere propaganda.  They think that their tolerance of the Islamists and sympathy for the terrorists demonstrates a sophisticated openmindedness.  They have concluded our warriors are bloodthirsty, brainwashed and cruel.

The American infantryman comes from love.

The Islamists are planting bombs along the roads and paths of a miserable land.

So we sent this young Marine halfway around the planet to defuse them.

Because that is who we are.

After a few group photos, we mounted-up and moved in a column eight miles to the restaurant.

Libertyville and Lake Forest fire trucks followed the bikes.  Patrick rode in the Lake Forest truck.  Cages followed.

At one point, the other big-flag bike pulled abrest of me.

When we got to the restaurant, Jeff and Eve were waiting to greet us.

The  the other big-flag bike raised a salute as only bikers can.

At last, we were all safely parked and the lot became relatively quiet.  Dave and Rob took the opportunity to decorate our hero.

The sacred mission of the PGR is to show honor and provide protection for heroes at their funerals.  We were happy to have a live one for a change.

More group photos.

And more and more group photos.  That's all right.  He's been trained to face the fire.

But then came the time to either hit the bar or hit the road.

I hit the road so I didn't learn how a great name like Patrick O'Leary's was shortened to "Gus".