September 2, 2010
Wow, 3am does come early, especially after an emotional previous day and a long mountainous drive. But today is a day I have been waiting for since the planning began. The farthest point of my journey, Hawaii the 37th state so far. I have now made it more than 16,000 miles. And I have to tell you that as I sit here writing the impact of it all is finally hitting me as reality. The journey is actually happening, the message is getting out there and lives are being touched. For some reason this has grabbed me now more than ever. Maybe its because of the miles traveled, and the many supportive people, but regardless of whether the media or the apathetic take notice, this is significantly historic for all of our fallen heroes and their families. A sincerely humbling and overwhelming moment in my journey.
I have been in communication for quite some time with Hawaii state Representative Mark Takai. A Gold Star family in the area had first told him about Honor and Remember some time back and he immediately drafted an Hawaiian resolution in support. Mark and I have been in contact ever since and he has been our point of contact and planning my visit. After the 8 hour trip today and finally getting to meet him I know we have now connected as friends. Mark has set up an amazing schedule, as you can see by the itinerary and was so looking forward to this time.
At the airport Mark welcomed me with a beautiful real flowered orchid lei ( I think i have only ever seen these in plastic) and then we were off and running. He escorted me around the island and we made many stops including lunch and a visit to the capital. The hotel he arranged for me overlooks Waikiki beach from the 28th floor, absolutely gorgeous. Part of our journey today took us to the graves of several fallen heroes from Iraq/Afgh and I will be privileged to meet the families tomorrow with the governor.
The day ended when Mark invited me to a USC vrs U of Hawaii football game. Football is huge out here and the stadium packed as these two rivals battled it out. In the end USC prevailed but not after a noble fight. The final score was 36-49. I welcomed the distraction of the evening and was able to put aside the pressures and responsibilities that lie ahead. Thank you Mark for believing in the message and the mission.
Tomorrow: Flag presentation ceremony with the HI Governor. Night of American Heroes dinner.