Day 108 – Albuquerque, NM

September 23, 2010

Woke up this morning in a Wal mart parking lot. Ha, that sounds like I hadn’t planned it, but it was where I parked the night before. Today is Veterans appreciation at the New Mexico State Fair. Gold Star mother Pat Merville was my point of contact in NM and has worked diligently at preparing for my trip. She had prepared for me to participate in the parade and to be a keynote speaker at the Veterans day ceremony.  It was a very special time as I was able to meet many Gold Star families and march with them as we held the Honor and Remember Flag for the crowd.  Marching along with the Blue Star mothers and many other Veteran service organizations.

General Don Arnold was master of ceremonies for the even and graciously allowed me time to share the message at the podium.  After a few minutes I unfurled the flag and received a salute and standing ovation from the veteran crowd. The highlight and most important moment came when I able to make two special flag presentations. One to Mrs Merville in honor of her son Christopher and the second to the Lopez family in honor of their son Robert. There is a special story to Robert, he had been MIA for 37 years, his family having no idea what had happened in Vietnam. And recently in 2005 his remains were found and he was finally able to be laid to rest by his parents in Arlington. When Mrs Lopez received her flag today she looked at me and said, “this is the final piece of closure that I need”.  I can not express the emotion of being able to touch individual lives in such a powerful way. These tributes will continue as we honor generations of precious families.

At the conclusion of the event all of the Gold Star families headed to lunch where we were able to spend some great time sharing about our kids and our healing.  Leaving the Fair and heading to Amarillo, a four hour drive to prepare for tomorrows activities.

Tomorrow: Amarillo and events scheduled

Blessings, George