July 16, 2010
A restful night and then on to our agenda for the day, beginning with a 5 hour drive to Lincoln Nebraska. I have to say that our GPS decided we were to take a road under construction about an hour in and messed my navigational brain. It tok me about 30 minutes to reorient and then told me we would arrive about 30 minutes after the ceremony. That would not have been a good idea since the NE governor was included in our ceremony as well as 7 specific Gold Star families. Needless to say I wasn’t putting up with that nonsense and we did arrive about 45 minutes early.
Pat Mracek from NE Gold Star mothers was hosting our visit and put together an amazing ceremony of about 100 inside the rotunda of the state capitol. PGR, full dress marines, the Adjutant General and other military dignitaries as well as over 20 Gold Star families and the governor himself. Also there was music by Little Sis a strong supporter of our military and the GSFs.
The ceremony was both moving and powerful. I did make a slight error when I thanked the Kansas audience, after all I was in Nebraska. The governor declared the day as Honor and Remember day with a special proclamation and gave some extremely emotional comments. The most important moment of the event was the presentation of seven personalized flags. It was the largest presentation we had made since our trip began and I enlisted the volunteer help of the American Legion Riders and the marines. There were definitely a few touching moments.
The capitol and rotunda were exquisite, the building the tallest I have seen so far. It was truly a magnificent venue. I have to say one of the most important moments of the day was when I met Sargent Major Sackett. The SM was with my son Tony the moment he was shot and was instrumental in evacuating him to medical. It was an emotional moment for me to spend time with this marine. Tony had been assigned to the 2/6 marines and they had been on a mission when they stopped to assess a situation. Tony was on the heavy gun standing watch when he was shot by a lone sniper. As a Gold Star parent it is so important to hear these stories of our loved ones and all of the who, what, when and wheres. If you served and lost a buddy or just someone in your unit, please remember that it is important to connect with the families. Regardless of what may go thru your mind, it is very important that they hear whatever glimmer of memory you can share. They never forget their loss and you will only be adding to the healing process so desperately needed.
Following the ceremony we all headed to a local pub to share stories, take pictures and get closer as a family. I passed the guestbook around and then we began the second leg of our day, another 5 hour ride to Waterloo, Iowa. We passed 8,000 miles today and 22 states.
Tomorrow: Waverly parade and HOG Rally.