Nearly 60 U.S. Marines volunteered to help this week at funeral services for Staff Sgt. Marc Golczynski, but there were about a dozen other volunteers present to honor the man who grew up in Lewisburg, and be ready to shield mourning relatives if protestors arrived as threatened last week.
One of them is Kenny Breeding, 47, of Columbia, who knows all too well about members of a church in Kansas. Its members demonstrated in Nashville when his nephew, Capt. David A. Bass was buried nearly a year ago. His funeral was targeted for a demonstration, Breeding said, because he has been outspoken about the group's position.
"We turn our back to them," Breeding said. "They don't deserve our attention. They want to antagonize us.
"I was the sixth one in the nation to sign up" for the Patriot Guard Riders, he said of the group which is composed mostly of people who ride motorcycles. Breeding drives a sedan to carry flags for the guard's members.
While many of the Patriot Guards are veterans, Breeding is not and he joined when his nephew was in the military and as a result he decided to take a stand against such demonstrations.
"We call these trips missions," he said. "I'd been on three and never knew the fourth would be for my nephew."
Patriot Guard Riders also go on "happy missions; welcome home ceremonies."