Patriot Riders takes us on a solemn journey astride thundering motorcycles to the sometimes silent, sometimes turbulent funerals of young soldiers killed in action. The film follows the men and women of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group of motorcyclists originally formed to protect grieving families from members of the Westboro Baptist Church who gather at military funerals to harass families for allowing their sons and daughters to serve.
Outraged by the hate emanating from this fringe group and sympathetic to the families at the most tragic time of their lives, the motorcyclists escort fallen soldiers from the airfield to the burial grounds, where they form a protective shield around the bereaved families. Amazingly, this small volunteer group of motorcyclists has grown to 200,000 in just five years.
Patriot Riders tells the story of this growing movement: who it attracts, how it interacts with the military, and how the families feel being supported by such a non-traditional alliance of patriots. The film underscores a tragic truth: Soldiers are dying and families are suffering. At the same time, Patriot Riders reveals an unlikely but powerful bond between the riders and the grieving families.
Their poignant and heart-felt stories chronicle the emergence of a new kind of patriotism in America. As one Patriot Guard Rider says on camera: “you don’t have to be religious or be an atheist to be in the PGR. You can be a hawk or a dove. You don’t have to be a vet. Heck, you don’t even have to ride a motorcycle.” Patriot Riders is a film about fellowship, about community, about veterans, about the effects of war on the home front, about riding, about what it means to be an American.
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