Friday, very hectic. Susie helped us get our selves and luggage to the airport. Had an issue because storms had closed Chicago where we had a connecting flight. Eventually, we were re-routed through Phoenix. We had been given first class tickets, but it looked like one of us was going to be flying standard to Phoenix. We had to talk to two different people at American Airlines counters in San Diego just to get our re-route. They were all very nice.The final guy was at our gate and was sorry because one was getting bumped into standard for a stand by passenger. He didn't think it was right but only said he'd bring the policy up at the next meeting. On the plane, apparently, he did something, and I got moved up to first. In all, I was more impressed with the customer service at American than I have ever been with an airline. The trip was fun, and first class was a blast. The only disappointment was because of going through Phoenix instead of Chicago, the two parts were uneven in time, with the first part being short and the second, really long.
Landed in DC, got met by Chaplain Scott, who we all call Chappie. Shuttle, hotel, room, meeting, bar, boom. Great to see our friends from around North Dakota again. Especially Frenchy and Bernadette.
All the usual seminars and happenings. Great time. sightseeing, insight, reflection, outreach and just being with people who understand what it's like to go through our lives as Survivors.
Back in March or so, Laurie and I had stopped at a favorite spot for a quick pint, but that location was closed. We opted for our least favorite place in Santee, Pacific Island Brews, or PIB. When we got there, some function was going on. It kinda looked like a reception. People said we were still welcomed to come in. Once there, we realized this was a memorial reception for a girl who had served in the military. We sought out the parents and introduced ourselves. Nancy and her husband were wonderful people and I thought it was good they had all these friends and family surrounding them. I knew it was too early and fresh to tell them much about TAPS, but made sure we had contact information and gave them space. At TAPS, I had to share their story with some people and hope I can get them out to DC soon. Olivia, the daughter, seemed to be an amazing woman. Mother of two and veteran of the US Air Force, serving in Afghanistan with the Air Force weather service which tracks the conditions for flight missions.
On Saturday night, we have the big banquet. Our guest speaker was Robert Patrick the actor. He started his talk by reading a letter from a friend who echoed the thoughts of many Conservatives and then spoke of his career, his love and honor for the families of the fallen, the heroic members of the United States military, and his love for the greatest nation on earth. He told us of his intentions of riding in Rolling Thunder on Sunday. He drove his old Harley from Hollywood to DC in only four days!! That is some hard riding. 3000 miles in four days. We got pictures with him which was fun. Although he is currently on TV with a series now (Scorpion) and has done many roles, he is most remembered as the T-1000 terminator. Great guy.
Sunday was Rolling Thunder and once again, Frenchy pimped us out to her biker friends from Pennsylvania. We had the honor of being introduced to a veteran who was a survivor of the cowardly attack at Fort Hood by Nidal Hassan.
Every year, there is a Marine who stands on the traffic island at the corner we turn during the run. In full dress uniform, he stands at salute as the bikes take hours to go by. Tim is not just a veteran, but he was stationed at the Pentagon when 9/11 happened. Injured himself, he helped pull friends out of the burning rubble. He has physical issues now from that day but manages to stand for hours every year in honor of others who served. This year he was engaged and the marriage ceremony took place, you guessed it, right there on that traffic island during the ride. His new bride stood with him to honor the servicemen.
The ride ends at the National Mall, and it is always a zoo with tourists, but more so this year as Donald Trump was there to give a primary speech. afterwards, we walked a bit, found a Virtual geocache at the Museum of Science and Arts. and made our way to the subway to the hotel.
On Monday we decided to catch a couple of finds so we could get our souvenir for Virginia as we had gotten DC the day before. We got one, but Laurie and I started to fight. It was because it was Memorial day and after the emotional weekend we were thinking a lot about Jeremiah. We took a break in the shade. I was on Facebook, and found one of Jeremiah's battle buddies was on live. He was filming himself and his daughter walking around the Fourth ID memorial at Fort Hood where both he and Jeremiah had been stationed when they lost Jeremiah while deployed to Iraq. It was touching and brought us back to reality. We continued our searching and made a few finds. a couple were very cool. Later that afternoon, we had lunch with some of our North Dakota group. There were tow girls there who were cousins and around 10 - 12. Laurie told them about geocaching and when we left to walk to the hotel as a group, we covered some of the same area where we had been earlier and Laurie directed them into finding a couple of the caches. It was pretty fun watching kids hunt for them.
Tuesday morning, said goodbyes and left for the airport. Still flew first class, this time routed through Dallas. In the airport, we met a young woman from San Diego who had lost her husband and was at TAPS.
Finally, after all that, we arrived in San Diego and had a few days before we began our journey home.
|Jefferson David Highway seen from our room|
|The Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA is just beautiful.|
|Opening night dinner|
|The Military Band performance at Marine Barracks One.|
|Robert Patrick and us.|
|Tim, the Saluting Marine and his new bride. Congrats|
|Streets of Arlington. There is a geocache here|
|Beautiful water park|
|Incredible design, very serene here...|
|and a geocache.|
|Our lunch party.|