November 8, 2010
Honor and Remember of North Carolina, chapter director Kathy Moore and her team have been working diligently in the state to prepare for my visit. This is the 50th state on my journey and the final stop before heading to Arlington for Thursday’s ceremony. The day began with breakfast at the Fullers and then off to Ray Price Harley Davidson to meet up with Kathy and some of the team. There was a ceremony scheduled at the state capitol at 10am and were going over as a group. The event was held in the Old Senate chambers and was well attended by an audience of about 100. Several Gold Star families were present as well as many family, friends, veterans organizations and patriotic citizens. Also we were privileged to have US Congressman Walter Jones and State Senator Davis. Sen Davis was instrumental in the passing of Bill 76 which adopted the HR Flag as an official symbol of remembrance for NC. The ceremony was very moving as each spoke about the importance of remembering. Kathy did a terrific job of organizing the day and helping me give tribute to 2LT TJ Meeks, KIA in 1943 WWII.
TJ’s two sisters were there to receive his personalized flag in such an honorable place with veterans from the past including the second world war.
Headed over to Ft Bragg for a ceremony on base at 3pm. Kathy had arranged for a gathering at the Family life center and it was well attended by Gold Star families, military personnel, Patriot guard and and many supporters. Ft Bragg was the military base where my son Tony was stationed and the moment was very emotional for me, so much so that I lost my train of thought and hesitated in my message several times. All in all we managed to push through and honor two special families with flags. Linda Ford in honor of her father WWII veteran PFC Dugue and Lori and Eric Southerland in tribute to her son Michael Rodriguez.
Words can never describe the powerful emotion of these moments and I am grateful that we can continue honoring in such a worthwhile and meaningful way.
Tonight spending the evening with Tony’s former chaplain before tomorrows busy day.
Tomorrow: Ceremony at Camp Lejeune, veterans meeting in Greenville.