We’re home! Aug 25, 2011
Well, here we are at home! Where did the month go? So many miles (6,239 by the van’s trip-o-meter). We didn’t stick to any one motel chain, so we got a sampling. And there was only one where we were at all disappointed. Probably our best night was our first, spent in Phoenix when we were excited, wondering what was to come, wondering if we had the chops to pull it off. We spent our last night back in Phoenix, tired, happy, anxious to get back to the familiar (in its basic meaning of having to do with family).
While we were on the trip, Wes and Melissa became the proud owners of a home up on a mountain top above Cabazon. In 118-degree heat, after such a trip, I was not anxious to shove the van up a mountain. But when Dottie and I spoke of driving on by and having Wes come to Lake Elsinore to pick up Melissa and Skylar, their disappointment was obvious. So we compromised. Wes met us down off Route 10, “by the dinosaurs”. We off-loaded them and their stuff, had a final restaurant lunch to celebrate, and then Dottie and I sped the final miles home. I hugged Sophie le Chat, took one look at my stack of mail and laid down on my own bed for a nap. Melissa, bless her heart, had the strength to get on the Phil & Bill Show that night, Aug 25th, for another blogradio share about what we’re doing.
Our focus on the trip was veterans and how they have been treated, historically and present-day. All of us were so happy to see flags flying everywhere, more “memorial highways” than we could count, and Welcome Centers of all kinds for assisting troops leaving or coming home. At every stop, stores and restaurants had special discounts and deals for members of the military. People on the streets and in airports wore uniforms and camos, not as a fashion statement, but because they had earned the right. We met veterans of every military action you could name who had come together, as many told us, “to make sure these kids know they’re appreciated”. This was most poignant with the Viet Nam vets.
Much of the time, as we worked to get the material we wanted for our documentary, we worried about intruding. There are still military actions going on, and those involved, whether here or there, must be protected. As Don Papin of the Oklahoma Patriot Guard said, “We don’t want this to be about us. It’s about them. We don’t have meetings, we don’t have dues. We have phone and email lists, and when a family calls for us, we spread the word and show up.”
And yet, so many people stepped up to speak with us about what was close to their hearts that we will be many months yet putting it all together. Truly a labor of love.
We have material being sent to us, and more interviews to do. We expect to be working on it for possibly a year or more. If you have material – letters, articles, photos – or just stories you’d like to share, please! Please contact us:
We’d be proud to hear from you.