The roar of the Patriot Guard Riders bikes announced that the scroll of the Code of Support, and the dog tags of Sgt. Ronald Coffelt had arrived at the AirForce Memorial on 9/11/11 after a cross-country odyssey beginning in Oceanside, California nine days ago. The dog tags of Sgt. Coffelt were given to the Patriot Guard Riders by his widow and his children, and they were passed along with the scroll, from ride captain to ride captain with the words “guard these with your life.”
With the sun shining off the curved spires of the Air Force Memorial, overlooking the Pentagon and the 9/11 commemoration held there, Major General Alan Salisbury, Founder and Chairperson of Code of Support, and Kristy Kaufmann, Executive Director, spoke of the reason for the Code of Support. The drive to remind the “other 99%” of the sacrifices and service of the less than 1%, the service members and their families, the veterans and their families. To connect the partners that have joined with The Code Of Support to help families, the servicemen, and veterans, the ability of non-military people to connect with groups that need their help; these are the reasons that The Code Of Support was born.
There were speeches by partners including the Red Cross and The Mission Continues. Then a quiet man stood, a member of The Patriot Guard Riders , Kevin Rock. And with his soft-spoken few sentences coalesced the reason for the day for those gathered there. It was to remember 9/11 but for the Code of Support it was to remember, to support the 1%. His quiet dignity and heartfelt tribute brought everyone to their feet, reduced the military spouses in the audience to tears.
This weekend has been a time of great sorrow, a time of remembrance. The Code of Support, Joining Forces, Blue Star Families, and other service groups also reinforced that feeling we had 10 years ago, the feeling of community, of caring, of volunteerism, of dedication to our country and our neighbors.