The Patriot Guard Riders is an organization whose members attend the funerals of the military, firefighters, and police at the invitation of a decedent's family. The group forms an honor guard at military burials, helps protect mourners from harassment and fills out the ranks at burials of indigent and homeless veterans. In addition to attending funerals, the group also greets troops returning from overseas at homecoming celebrations and performs volunteer work for veteran's organizations such as Veterans Homes.
With a military career that included seven tours of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq, USMC Staff Sgt. Jonathan Turner served the United States for 17 years as a Marine. But when Turner passed away in California due to combat-related issues, his mother — who still lives in the Turners' hometown of College Park, Georgia — couldn't afford the cost of traveling to the west coast to retrieve his ashes.Instead, Turner's ashes would be shipped home.
That didn't sit well with Patriot Guard riders, so they stepped up by creating a caravan and personally escorting Turner's remains all the way across the country. It was an operation that involved hundreds of volunteers and thousands of miles ridden...."We didn't want him to go home in a Fed Ex box."
Bill Conklin, a hospice patient in Boise had one last wish of hearing the roar of a Harley Davidson, one last time.
Conklin told his nurse a while back about his wish, who helped get the ball rolling. "Guess what?" asked Teri Jordan, Conklin's nurse. "Your wish has come true."
Surrounding his home were about 50 Harleys and bikers ready to unleash the sound Conklin was waiting for. The sound filled the entire block while excitement filled Conklin's body and heart. "My feet are numb, my hands are numb, and my back is burning like fire," he said. To us, it may just be a sound, but to him, it was the best medicine he could get. ...
Conklin says the bikes brought back many great memories. He was so appreciative of the display, Conklin made it an important duty of his to shake every hand he could get to, saying thanks before the bikers took off.
A Theatrical Rebuttal to the Farce of ‘Dignicide’ - Terry Teachout in the Wall Street Journal
The title and subject are dark, but British theatergoers don’t seem to care. “Assisted Suicide” has received rave reviews since it was first shown last year, and when I saw it in January a packed house gave it a standing ovation. That’s all the more remarkable given the musical’s anti-euthanasia message, at a time when voters on both sides of the Atlantic are making their peace with the practice.
The musical’s creator, Liz Carr, ... suffers from a genetic disorder that prevents her from extending her muscles, among other impairments. Such people watch the assisted-suicide movement’s recent strides and wonder what it all means for their future in societies where the government is the main, often the sole, health-care provider.
Growing up with a severe disability, Ms. Carr recalls, “life was bleak.” She excelled at academics, but no amount of therapy seemed to improve her physical ability. She was never consciously suicidal, “but I didn’t see a future or an escape. I couldn’t see a point. So in that sense I’ve been to very dark places.” She pressed on, however, and now enjoys national prominence as an actress and disability activist.
Ms. Carr, who was born in 1972, considers herself lucky that euthanasia wasn’t on the cultural radar when she was young. “Assisted suicide has become part of the narrative of death, of illness, of disability,” she says. That was the work of euthanasia proponents, who knew that “it takes 15 to 20 years to get social support and to get the culture to change—then you pass the law.”
“We’ve lost the word ‘dignity’ to the concept of ‘death with dignity,’ ” says Ms. Carr. The truth, she insists, is that “your state of health, mental or physical, has no bearing on your dignity.” If voters and lawmakers take the view that dignity derives from good health and ability, then all sorts of weak and vulnerable people can be discarded.
The death-with-dignity case is often based not on the lived experience of people with disabilities, but on the subjective judgments of others. Her musical thus provides a necessary cultural corrective: I’m disabled, but who are you to say I lack dignity? All this talk of “death with dignity” also provides a convenient alibi for the failure to care for people who are disabled, ill or even lonely.
“Legalizing euthanasia doesn’t empower you. It empowers doctors.” In the context of the modern welfare state, that means empowering agents of the government. Legalization hides a dramatic action—the taking of life—behind the veil of the patient-doctor relationship, with all the power imbalances inherent in it.
People can always commit suicide, she says, but to give the state the power to facilitate it is to invite pressure on people like her: “How do we decide who qualifies? Why do we say that being disabled or ill—why is that OK justification, but being in anguish because you’ve been dumped by your boyfriend, or lost a child, isn’t?”