September 28, 2010
Today was an absolute joy. I have made a new friend in Senator Brown, a man who has a huge heart for the people of Oklahoma. Sen Brown arranged for a full day beginning with a ceremony at the Norman Veterans Center in Norman, OK. Today I was able to share the vision with several state officials, many patriots and especially Gold Star families. The program was respectfully organized and the words from each participant fully supportive. I want to especially thank Kay Guynes from Rolling Thunder who very surgically explained the need for Honor and Remember and its relationship to other symbols. Truly inspiring words I my try and post some excerpts in the future. Also Dept of Veteran Affairs Secretary Norman Lamb for his stunning comment that this was one of the most meaningful presentations he has ever seen in his lifetime. Truly humbling.
During the ceremony we presented Honor and Remember Flags to each of the seven families in attendance. The Graham, Galvan, Jirtle, Looney, Stroud, Petty, Wright families. These were sponsored by the senator himself and each was a moving example of the importance of what we are doing. At the conclusion of the presentations I had a special surprise that I may have eluded to. Sen Brown’s father Seaman Second Class Elbert Brown, was killed in WWII, before he ever knew him. He talks about his dad alot and today during the ceremony he told his fathers story with great emotion. I had made a special personalized flag in tribute to his dad and at our conclusion presented it to him. This was totally unexpected and much appreciated. The emotional drain in this hour was tremendous. Please view the posted pictures. We later gathered for lunch and added to the day’s emotion sharing about our kids and breaking bread. I cant express enough how meaningful this time has been.
After lunch the Senator and I, running late, headed back to the capitol where we had a scheduled meeting with Governor Henry. This was a very special privilege and the governor was extremely gracious. He spent a great deal of time with me thanking me for the campaign and giving me his full support. He eagerly signed the Honor and Remember pledge and gave me a special gold coin commemorating the state of OK. The state is indeed interested in the flag and Sen Brown will be writing legislation to be sure each family is specifically remembered. A great great day.
After a few moments of thanks, I headed on my way toward Texas. My propane tank showed empty and I hadn’t filled it since Idaho so since it runs the refrigerator I had to find a supplier soon. There was a source near the capitol so with that taken care of I headed south the four hour drive toward Dallas.
I had been given a contact by my home team for Gene futh, a supporter and PGR member following my journey, and we connected for a nice evening dinner not too far outside Dallas. From there I rolled up to the home of Gold Star dad Alan Burks, who lost his son Pete in November 2007. I will be staying with Alan a couple of days to stage for the next step.
Tomorrow: A few meet and greets with Alan. Admin cleanup.