October 5, 2010
Today I woke up ready to start the day. I met Gold Star mother Faith Zimmerman for breakfast and we strategized about the noon ceremony. At the Texas capitol rotunda in Austin, Nancy Glass arranged for a special presentation of four personalized flags. I drove the RV down to the capitol to get some visibility and could only get to the outer ring of the building. Once parked Faith and I headed inside. Inside we had to go through the scanners and one of the Police troopers was a Gold Star dad. We were very surprised to find this out and invited him to the ceremony. Faith had been given a portrait of her son by Phil Taylor and was carrying the box inside when trooper Alonzo spotted it. From there the conversation opened up and we were able to connect.
The ceremony started a little late as we waited for everyone to arrive. It was a very respectful and solemn place to be and I am reminded that I have been blessed to speak in many capitol rotundas around the country. There were many wonderful people to meet today, including SOS representatives, State Rep. Mark Strama and many others. We began with a prayer and the pledge and after a brief introduction, began my message around 12:30 and concluding with the presentation of personalized flags to honor Robert Harrigan, Christopher Zimmerman, Byron Norwood and Michael Cahill (my first presentation to one of the fallen from last years Ft Hood incident). Pictures are posted.
It was emotionally moving for me and each family to embrace and remember. I am so very grateful to be able to connect so intimately in this powerful way. I continue to be humbled in each city by so many wonderful people. The opportunity to speak for every fallen warrior overwhelming.So much to describe that I cant fully articulate. The mission continues.
Tomorrow: Meeting with Austin Mayor then on to San Antonio for Thursday presentation at the Alamo.