Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Patriot Guard Riders Were In Beaumont

On Sep. 26, Staff Sgt. Edward Charles Reynolds from Port Arthur became another casuality of the war in Iraq. He leaves behind three children and a fiancee'. His second tour was about to finish in November. His wedding was planned for December. But, fate had a different plan for him and his family.

As it's become the custom lately, members of the radical Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas decided to picket Reynold's funeral. Word spread quickly and the Patriot Gaurd Riders headed toward Beaumont to counter protest the WBC. Unlike the WBC members, the Riders understand soldiers' funerals are about the family and honor rather than gay phobia or other issues.

On Saturday morning, more than 200 riders assembled at the parking lot of Home Depot in Beaumont. Most of them drove long hours to be on time for the funeral. Less than 10 WBC members -- including children -- showed up for their picket show.

Mark had the day off. So, we decided to document the Riders preparation and the funeral. Here are some of the pictures I took during the event.

We decided to leave after the arrival of the family during Reynold's funeral service. I felt the family needed some privacy from the cameras.

Oh and BTW, the WBC protesters, who were kept 500 feet from the church premises by state law and troopers, left before the funeral service started. I'm coming to the conclusion their main purpose is to get the media's attention.

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