June 19, 2010
This morning we were able to sleep in for the first time. A beautiful Vermont morning, I actually posted a picture on twitter looking outside the bedroom window. Marion made a wonderful pancake breakfast with homemade Vermont maple syrup. Now about the maple syrup, it came from the Gray’s very own trees up on the hill (picture also posted). We were taken up to view firsthand the steps of tapping the sugar maples, including the flow lines, the catch basin and the boiling process. This was an amazing education for us to be able to follow the actual production of syrup from tree to refrigerator. Mrs Butterworths has nothing on Mrs Gray.
After a relaxing morning, which is one we needed by the way, we headed to Randolf Center Vermont for the Veterans memorial cemetery. A ceremony was planned for 3p at there where we were able to meet several Gold Star families, their friends, local dignitaries and a great group from the Combat Vets. The overall memorial facility is absolutely beautiful with a gorgeous chapel where we visited before the event. We all then gathered at the Circle of Flags in the center of the cemetery. After the posting of the colors and invocation I spoke to the group about the vision of the Honor and Remember Flag and was overwhelmingly embraced. Of course the heart of our time was to honor publicly a special Gold Star mom, Mrs Olive Pettis who lost her son SPC Steven G. Pettis ~ 14 May 1969 ~ Vietnam.
The beauty of the scenery and the solemness of the location added to the respectful significance of why we had all gathered. After the personalized presentation to Mrs Pettis, I then presented a special personalized flag in gratitude to all of the Vermont Fallen Heroes. The Gold Star families ceremoniously raised it on an open pole amongst the ring of flags. This Honor and remember flag will now have a permanent place in this circle representing all of the states fallen and their families. This was a perfect day in many many ways, the wonderful people I have met and the enthusiasm we have experienced is beyond words. Thank you Vermont.
Tomorrow: Fathers day, speaking at a local church in Albany, VT