fourbroadsinabus

Freedom Beat Across America: In Search of America's Heartbeat

Archive for the tag “fellow vets”

More from Dottie’s Journal

More from Dottie — remembering the adventures of the four broads as they drove across the southern U.S. in the summer of 2011:

August 7th, 2011

We arrived in Boswell, Oklahoma to meet up with Don “Pappy” Papin.  He is State Captain for the Patriot Guard [Riders](OK).  He was a wealth of information.  (unlike the publicity-shunning members in Oklahoma City)

On Monday we met up with three others in the Guard.  They are “Chief”, “Judge”, and “Leatherneck”.  (even here we met with the reluctance of the Patriot Guard Riders to have any light shine on them rather than on the veterans they seek to honor. So I am not giving the real names that Dottie recorded in her journal.   However:

(Three of the four were veterans themselves)  Pappy was an Air Force Airman 1st Class.  “Chief” was a Navy Seaman (of course), and “Leatherneck” was a corporal in the Marines (natch — name’s kinda a giveaway) until he lost a leg and knee in Viet Nam.  Judge was a civilian Patriot (just wanting to do something for the kids coming home).

The Dixie Café in Boswell was host to our breakfast and after explaining that we would not alter what was said, the men agreed to our recorded interview.   Don gave us a DVD with mission footage [that he said] we may use. (in the documentary which is still in production at this time)

August 10th:

Corsicana, Texas

We visited the Pearce Museum at Navarro College campus in Corsicana.  Pearce Civil War Museum is an interactive museum featuring firsthand accounts of the Civil War, through letters, diaries and journals from civilians and soldiers of that time period.

As we drove up to the front of the building, out front was a retired Air Force fighter plane.  The building, red brick with a porticoed front, reminded me of the front of Monticello (Tom Jefferson’s place, which we actually didn’t get to see this trip, so I have to take her word for it!)  [There was also] a bronze statue of an American Indian making an offering to the Great Spirit, a preview of the Western-themed art exhibit waiting inside.

The foyer was a dome with stained glass discs of Copernicus, Galileo, Einstein, Isaac Newton and the German responsible for rockets.  (We think she meant Wernher von Braun, but don’t hold us to it.)

The building houses the museum and planetarium.  Behind the receptionist’s desk was a wall of glass bricks with frosted scenes depicting an astronomer and the solar system.

We waited for the museum administrator to see if we could have permission to take pictures or video record inside the museum.  We met with the Director, and she explained that it was bad timing since they were installing a new exhibit.  She explained that there could not be any photography or video recording in the museum and in the art gallery.  We were given free admittance (appreciated deeply!) and fell in with a tour group and went along as a curator gave a very informative tour to us and about five others.

After the tour I spoke with [the director] again, and she agreed to provide us with a DVD with film clips from the Civil War footage they have, some stills, copies of letters and information with full permission for use in our documentary.  (Unfortunately, to date we haven’t received any of it and she has never returned our phone calls or emails.  Dottie thinks perhaps she got a “no” from above.  Personally, I’m thinking ‘outa sight, outa mind’.  It happens.  Too bad – we were very excited by her promises, and would have featured the museum prominently in the documentary.)

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Moving on, in different ways

Well, it beats getting another ladder

After three weeks of new-computer problems, it’s time to bring things up to date (which is not the same thing as ‘update’ and I’ve had quite enough of updating during these last three weeks, thank you).
The sound studio moves on. The wall-to-wall ceiling and floor insulation is pretty much in place with, as someone said, enough staples to make it resemble chainmail. It’s not going to fall down any time soon. It’s actually quite cozy in there, especially with November’s drizzly ice-cold rain coming down outside.  The walls are fuzzy — if anyone needs some head-banging time, we’ve got the perfect place, cheap rates.  Next comes the office, where the operational equipment will be. Just a matter of moving everything that we moved out of the studio area into the office, from the office area to ? Oh dear, here we go again, move this over here so we can move that in there. I know Will calls this house the Tardis, but it’s not really unlimited.

This will NOT fit in my bedroom

We are still filming interviews for the documentary. Just a week ago we met up with a Viet Nam vet who spends his time not only helping his fellow vets, but reaching out to the young ones coming back, bewildered, from a war just as horrendous in a desert as the other was in a jungle. The ones, he says poignantly, who managed “some sort of survival”. He spoke of his nephew, killed in Fallujah in 2004. And of a buddy who stood up just in time to take a bullet meant for him. He spoke of what it’s like to come home to people who simply cannot understand, no matter how much they try, no matter how much they want to understand. His advice? Get professional help as soon as you can. Not psycho-crap, just someone who knows, who’s been there and can help you find your way through your own particular jungles, back home to a life that will never be what you once thought it would be but can still be everything you want it to be.

“It’s not weakness,” he says to those who hesitate. “It’s not weakness, it’s strength. Weakness is giving up. Strength is asking for help, getting it and moving on.”

Ooo-rah, gunny.

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