I remember a time when biker gangs were something to be feared. They were a people who would cut you down to size and do as they wanted, when they wanted. They were to be feared, for the bad they could do. The "Hell's Angels" were a very common name when I was growing up, and we all knew how "bad" they were. They were accused of widespread violence, extortion, trafficking of stolen goods, and dealing with drugs. There were many other motorcycle gangs that tried to emulate them.
I don't know when it happened, but there was a shift in the paradigm. Now-a-days, you still have lots of "biker gangs" (often referred to as biker clubs to lose the stigma of a "gang"), but these groups are NOT the bad boys of years gone by. These groups are the ones that ride to raise money for toys for the underprivileged children. They are the "Patriot Guard Riders" who rides in to protect our fallen heroes from the VERY ungodly protests by those Westboro Baptist Church people.... there are full motorcycle clubs who ride as a ministry, sharing the love of Christ. That being said, there is still a "fear", because these are people who are willing to stand for what is right, and will fight for it if need be. It's not the upstanding that need to fear now, it is those who want to stand in the way of the upstanding, those who are doing right. They stand up hurting, the fallen, the needy...they stand up for our country, our people.
I remember 20 years ago, I was fearful of any place that was a "hang out" for a motorcycle gang. I didn't want to be anywhere near a joint where a bunch of motorcycle riders gathered, club or not. That has changed though. When I see bikers now, I smile. I wave. If they are off of their bike, I speak. Generally, I study their vest in an attempt to find what they stand for, because let me tell you: they *all* stand for something. I no longer avoid a place because of an abundance of bikers. Truth be told, I like them. I have taught my children to like "them".
I am sure there are still "bad" gangs around. I do know they are the minority though. That makes me smile.
So, on this Memorial Day, I honor those who have fallen for our country. I say "thank you" for paying the ultimate price for our freedom.
I also want to stand up and say thanks to the motorcycle club "The Patriot Riders", who are working to make sure our fallen can be honored without evil protest. I say thank you to all who honor our fallen throughout the year, being a living testament to what Memorial Day means.