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Oct-22-2006 14:33printcomments

Salem Oregon Bids Farewell to a Marine

Hundreds including the Patriot Guard Riders gathered to say their final goodbyes to a well known Sprague High graduate.

Service for Lance Corporal Derek Jones
Service for Lance Corporal Derek Jones
Photo by: Q Madp

(SALEM) - An Oregon family said goodbye to a local hero Saturday. Derek Jones, a graduate of Sprague High School in Salem, was a U.S. Marine who died while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Al Anbar province, Iraq. Hundreds gathered at the Salem Evangelical Church to pay respects to the Marine Lance Corporal who was attached to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The service was attended by family and friends as well as Oregon's Governor Ted Kulongoski, himself a former U.S. Marine, and Oregon Congresswoman Darlene Hooley who has worked hard to improve working conditions for Marines and soldiers fighting overseas. The service was accented by the traditions of the U.S. Marine Corps and amid the sadness, many speakers in attendance made comments that drew people back to the lighter side of Derek Jones, a great friend, husband and father. The Patriot Guard Riders showed up in strength on motorcycles as they do during other military funerals. Their presence guarantees respect for the fallen serviceman and their families. The PGR showed up with over 100 participants. The service was photographed by Q Madp of Q maintains information in all Americans killed in the fighting overseas and he attends the vast majority of military funerals in the Northwest to record the events for the families. The following comment was left on his Website, it offers a clear idea of how much Derek Jones will be missed. The one time that really stand out in all of our minds is the night the power went out in our neighborhood. All the neighbors came over and we lit a bunch of candles and just sat around on the patio talking with nothing but the candles to light the evening. Someone mentioned that some music would be nice but we had no power so we had no music. Suddenly Derek remembered that his phone also plays MP3s so we finally had some tunes to listen to. That was really the last time that we all got together before Derek went to Iraq. Pamela (Derek's wife) and I decided that when she gets back from Oregon we are all gonna get together again, cut off all the lights and listen to the music on Derek's cell phone by candle light one last time in remembrance of him.

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Tony Lowells October 25, 2006 12:39 am (Pacific time)

I joined the marines right after Derek, and I can always remember his Bootcamp before and after picture on our wall of heros!

Cullen Ritchie aka "Seattle" PGR Wa October 23, 2006 10:45 pm (Pacific time)

Politics aside, I long for the day that we have no more fallen Heros. Rest easy LCpl Jones, and my condolences to those you leave behind.

Henry Ruark October 23, 2006 4:36 pm (Pacific time)

Innocent Bystander gotta speak up...good dialog coming to proper conclusion for all. I'd be proud to have biker-group at mine..."closer every day", he said, chuckling to himself.

Tim King October 23, 2006 1:32 pm (Pacific time)

Vic, I make mistakes as often in life as anyone else and it takes a real man to stand corrected. Thanks for having what it takes to process this out and find the conclusion that you did.

Q Madp October 23, 2006 1:27 pm (Pacific time)

Hey Junius, redneck with the loud bike; I'm always happy to see you guys. Having been to over 100 funerals in the NW, I KNOW what a positive impact it has been on the families. It's easy for people to give you crap, but for them to do something to honor our fallen heroes is another story. Junius, we need a lot more AMERICANS like you and the rest of those noisy rednecks. The Patriot Guard Riders never show up un-invited. They ask first, even when it's a 'public welcome service.' . You guys Rock.

Vic October 23, 2006 1:26 pm (Pacific time)

I apologize for criticizing and judging the motives of people I do not know. I really do. That was wrong of me , and the real issue here is that a young man is gone and his family , like so many others , is devastated. I thought that the PGR showed up of their own accord at this most private and intimate event, and to me , that was grandstanding and turning a young man's funeral into a poker run. I do not understand why they did it , but if the family invited the PGR , then God Bless them for taking the time and effort to show up.

Q Madp October 23, 2006 1:04 pm (Pacific time)

Hey Vic, See my set called "Faces Of Hate" Maybe that will help explain why many veterans on bikes show up to create a buffer between those hatefull people and the mourning families of our heroes. I would rather have those rednecks in the foxhole any day than THOSE people.

Junius Henry AKA Pepperguy PGR WA. October 23, 2006 12:10 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Pittman, "Those so called 100 uninvited rednecks that showed up on loud motorcycles", only showed up because they were invited by the family. In my 54 years of life I have never been accused of being a redneck, but if taking leave from work and riding 125 miles one way to honor a fallen hero and show respect to his family make me a redneck than maybe that's what I am. If you ever get off your couch and and come out and honor one of our heroes step up and say hello. I'll be easy to find. I'm the redneck with the loud motorcycle.

Tim King October 23, 2006 10:52 am (Pacific time)

The Westboro gang has only attempted to crash one Oregon funeral recently, and that is the one you referenced. I know other bikers from the Portland area who have also escorted services, and they deserve a ton of credit too, and I know that in some cases they have been doing it longer than the PGR. I just felt the bond of unity at Hood River, it was a great feeling amid the hatred of the Kansas hate group. They are doing it on their own time and dime, so that counts. Anyway, glad we could both add perspective.

Vic October 23, 2006 10:44 am (Pacific time)

I appreciate your response , Tim. I absolutely believe that there should be no protesters of any kind at a funeral. I would think that this would be a police matter though..I would arrest any of those jerks from Westboro as soon as they crossed the state line. Havent laws been passed to make their lewd and cruel presence illegal ? I would certainly hope so. As far as the biker thing..I am a biker , and my dad was a biker..a real biker , not some accountant who buys a Harley and duct tapes an American flag on it.... and I love this country. However , I see a lot of grandstanding these days..on both sides. Some of this smacks of grandstanding to me. To my knowledge , the a-holes from Westboro have only crashed one funeral..the one you spoke of in Hood River.That made me sick to my stomach. Again , I would hope that laws are passed if they arent already, to enable police to deal with anyone of any persuasion who disrupts any funeral.

Tim King October 23, 2006 9:39 am (Pacific time)

Hey Vic, do you know who the people from the Westboro Church are? They harrass military families and literally attempt to "crash" the funerals. I know, because I personally covered one in Hood River, Oregon and had to tangle with the people from the church. There is a report about it under our video section titled "Peaceful Defenders Louder Than Unwelcome Hate Group." So if you want to know who the rednecks are, take a look at those folks. I don't know if you've been hassled by bikers or something in your lifetime to give you such drastic thoughts, or if you're just scared of things you don't understand in general. But you would not do that if they showed up at your kid's funeral because you would be attacking one of the only groups that constantly escorts the coffins of our war dead to ensure that they are not disrespected. You would be biting the hand that feeds. I hope this clears things up for you.

Vic Pittman October 23, 2006 8:44 am (Pacific time)

So 100 uninvited rednecks show up on loud motorcycles at a funeral and this is called guaranteeing respect ? If they showed up at my son's funeral , Id take a shotgun to them.

Albert Marnell October 22, 2006 8:53 pm (Pacific time)

This is really sad. There are no enemy forces in Iraq. We never had any business in there. Saddam Hussein gets hand shakes from our leaders one moment and the next the aerospace, defense, oil and other private contracting firms want more accounts with the crooks in D.C. and the military. This is all about oil and world domination. The people of Haiti are suffering terribly. But they do not have the resources our crooked industrialists want. There is no United States. There are only corporations and crooked leaders that introduce them to our military leaders....all for profit. My sincere condolence to the Jones Family. I hope they attend the Nurmberg trial for the persecution of Rumsfeld.

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