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No time for separate posts, so here's a collage of Drew with his Cub's uniform (thanks Aunt Donelda), on his first day of organized sports (Drew is a Thumper in Soccer City's Lil' Kickers program) and cooling off in the backyard playing in the sprinkler.
Donelda proudly showing off her new 2006 Mustang Convertible, black with tan top and interior.
Writing this post was difficult until I realized it was about two different overlapping stories: one unimportant all about me and one, the opposite, very important about people thinking only of others. The meaningful story follows immediately, while the me-me-me part, can be seen by clicking on "continue reading" at the end.
There are some sick twisted people in this world, but you wouldn't think there would be people so sick and twisted that they would protest at the funerals of fallen soldiers, yelling slogans and holding signs like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers." While families are simply trying to say a final goodbye to their child, spouse or daddy, these protesters are in their face laughing, cheering and spewing their hatred. At least they were...until the Patriot Guard Riders stepped in.
The Patriot Guard Riders are a nation wide group of motorcycle riders with the mission of attending the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family where they show their respect for our fallen heroes and their families while shielding the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by protesters using strictly legal and non-violent means.
In conjunction with the 30th Anniversary of Rick Monday Saving the American Flag in center-field, Rick Monday's wife, Barbaralee Monday "Flag Babe," and her brother, James Casciari "Helmet Killer," are taking the actual flag that Rick Monday saved on a cross-country motorcycle tour while stopping to meet families which have been assisted by the Patriot Guard Riders. This is all being done to raise awareness and support for legislation to ban protesting near funerals. Some states have already passed laws, other states have pending legislation and there is also legislation pending in the U.S. Congress.
I met up with some Patriot Guard Riders early this afternoon in Claremore, Oklahoma. The riders there subsequently received word that the already delayed procession, then still in Missouri, was further behind schedule and would not be stopping in Claremore, but would still be stopping in Chelsea, Oklahoma, although much later in the evening. The Chelsea stop couldn't be bypassed because they were scheduled to meet with the family of a fallen soldier for whom the Patriot Guard Riders had previously attend the funeral. We all regrouped after two hours and headed for Chelsea.
After a little wait, the Patriot Guard Arrived. The first order of business was getting out the flag that Rick Monday had saved from being burned as a protest in center field of Dodger Stadium on April 25, 1976. It was a little faded and a little tattered but still beautiful. Barbaralee and James posed with the flag and the family of the fallen soldier. Next everyone was given the opportunity to sign a banner which will be displayed on July 4th at Dodger Stadium before being presented to Rick Monday. Barbaralee and James then signed posters commemorating the 30th Anniversary of Rick Monday's save. Barbaralee even called her husband Rick on her cell phone and he spoke to the family of the fallen solder.
It was readily apparent why the tour kept falling behind schedule. Everyone who wanted a picture either with the flag or with Barbaralee was given the opportunity. The same for autographs with personalized messages, hugs and thank-yous. Despite being woefully behind schedule, no one went away disappointed.
It should be noted that neither Mrs. Monday nor her brother, Mr. Casciari, are "riders" and that the tour has been incredibly exhausting on them both physically and emotionally. Despite this, they were very friendly and genuinely cared about all the people they met. They are passionate about getting legislation passed to protect families from protesters at funerals. They both proved themselves to be terrific people. Likewise, every one of the Patriot Guard Riders I met was friendly and helpful. It's people like these that make America great.
I've uploaded all of the photos I took to Flickr. Everyone is free to download and make copies as they wish.
I can't help but wonder how much an impressionable ten year-old Chicago Cubs fan who grew up to love the American flag was influenced by a certain center fielder who thirty years ago saved the American flag from being burned? From that boyhood moment to just two months ago seeing the heroic event for the first time to now holding in my hands the actual flag that Rick Monday saved. It was an amazing thing...then and now.
Barbaralee Monday signed a copy of the commemorative poster: "To the Danz Family - Thanks for being such terrific fans! Go Cubbies! God Bless." James Casciari signed: "To the Danz Family, True Fans! Cubs Rule!!" And, Barbaralee signed for Rick Monday: "Glad to see we have such wonderful fans."
After Rick Monday spoke to the family of the fallen soldier, they handed the phone back to Barbaralee who turned to me and asked if I wanted to talk to Rick Monday. The look on my face must have been something as some of the bikers around her cracked some pretty big grins. Yes, this ten year-old in a forty-year old's body would very much like to talk to Rick Monday. I told him about being a Cub fan and how much it meant to have one's childhood hero turn out to be such a great person and to be working for such a worthy cause. Monday said that it was simply wrong what they wanted to do the flag thirty years ago and it's wrong what the protesters want to do at funerals today. He also said that the true thanks go to the families of all the fallen soldiers.
So, if not for hate filled protesters and jihadist madmen, I would not have gotten to meet a great group of Americans, talk to my boyhood hero and touch a piece of history. What an odd cross-road of people and events.
I've been working out on a semi-regular basis lately (after taking a number of years off) which, apparently, corresponds to the exact frequency in which I would normally work on this blog. I thought I would just add working out as an activity but, instead, it has replaced blogging. This result should have been obvious given the constraints of a finite number of hours in the day, work and Drew time which cannot be infringed upon and sleep already at a minimum. There simply are not enough hours in the day.
I've got a backlog of things I'd like to post about, but no time in which to do it. As a result, instead of two or three posts a week, I expect there will be just one or two...probably on the weekends.
Enjoy your summer!
Mary took a day trip out of town today for one of her volunteer activities so Drew and I had a boys day out at La Fortune Park.
The first thing we did was take a three mile stroll on the track that goes around the park. Drew walked about half and rode in the stroller about half. The little guy surprised me at how much he walked and even ran! I think seeing everyone else jogging made him want to jog too.
There are enough twists, turns, scenery and things going on, from construction to sports, to see that Drew never got bored. Every few minutes we'd stop for a second to watch an activity or to take a closer look at something.
We got to see people playing golf, baseball, tennis, frisbee, swimming and, of course running and walking. We also saw lots of birds, squirrels, ducks geese and dogs.
At the end of our walk, we wound up at the playgrounds. The park is nice in that it has different age appropriate equipment areas. Even better, the equipment was well shaded. Drew had a great time climbing, sliding, swinging and just exploring.
The day lilies in our backyard garden are doing incredibly well.