Marine Staff Sgt. Jonathan Turner was living in California when he died. He had served seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Marine Corps took care of all the final details — except one. His mother, who lived in Georgia, was not able to attend the services in California, so her son’s cremated remains were going to be mailed home to her in a box. When the Patriot Guard Riders heard about this, they jumped into action.
The national group quickly organized a chain of motorcycle riders that would escort the Marine home. Turner loved riding motorcycles himself, so the effort had even more meaning. They set up a funeral escort across the country, and in each state, the riders handed him off the next group. They even conducted a ceremony to honor his memory. And their reason for doing this was simple: “[H]e had been cremated and we didn’t want him to go home in a Fed Ex box,” Oklahoma Patriot Guard Riders Capt. David Noble said.
Riders came from all over the country to escort Turner home, and it was for one simple reason: to tell the family that they were not alone. Turner’s remains were safely delivered to his mother after a cross-country trip that spanned seven states, and thanks to the Patriot Guard Riders, his final journey was a dignified trip back home.