What a fantastic day. Great weather! A little cool, but nothing a light jacket wouldn’t cure. God is blessing us just as our Chaplain’s Corp has prayed for. Thank you God for your traveling mercies another day. Can we ask for one more day? I’m sure the weather is helping us travel safely as well as all the prayers in our behalf. Thank you. We had LEO escort throughout our trip through Oklahoma and we all made it to Shawnee on time and in great shape.
The morning started with the usual mandatory meeting, except that the Outreach Program director Vickie Meyer “Needy” got up and read us a couple stories of fallen heroes. These stories are touching and bring emotions sometimes uncontrollable. Rightly so. This is why we ride and we will Never Forget.
We started out from the Sam’s Club parking lot again like last year. Some of the overpasses were covered with patriots waving flags and saluting as we passed under. Again our fuel stops were sponsored in Oklahoma. At our off ramp we stopped for another sponsored fill up and headed up the street for lunch. The food was great. The deserts were the best. I had to have some Banana pudding. Next we headed to the Tom Stafford’s Air & Space Museum. During lunch we were told there would be an aircraft fly-over before we left. “The Stafford Air & Space Museum is located in Weatherford, Oklahoma. The museum features exhibits about aviation, space exploration and rocketry, and a collection of over 20 historic aircraft. Displays include artifacts from the Space Shuttle program, Hubble Space Telescope and the Mir Space Station, a Moon rock, a Titan II missile, a Mark 6 Re-entry vehicle and a Gemini spacecraft” (Wiki). The flyover was the bomb. A B-25 and another vintage plane, I can’t remember the nomenclature of. Very cool. We loved it.
On our way to Oklahoma City, traffic got plenty worse but riding with LEO made it much easier. Still our rear platoons got blocked by traffic a couple times, but good communications helped remedy the situation. There was some rubber-banding and the occasional vehicle that needed on or off the interstate, so we made room for them. Getting into Oklahoma City is not easy without Leo support. Getting out is impossible without LEO support. We also had our Road Guards helping us all along the way. I’m not sure others know that what the Road Guards do is quite dangerous. They have been injured and their bikes damaged trying to block traffic for us. They are all certainly appreciated for what they do. They do keep us safe and their mission is to get us to DC in one piece. They do a dang good job of it as well. Thank you to all our Road Guards.
We made it to downtown Oklahoma City under full LEO escort and without much effort we arrived at the Oklahoma City Memorial and spent some time there. A ranger for the memorial was on hand to explain the design of the memorial. It’s quite an amazing story and all aspects of the design have meaning, from the Gates of Time (9:01 to 9:03), to the Reflecting Pool, the Field of Empty Chairs and the Survivor Tree. It is a wonderful memorial to a devastating attack against the American people, women carrying unborn children, mothers, fathers, children, families, all innocent people. These words are on the wall behind the Survivor Tree.
Team 5 4-19-1995
“Search for the Truth.
We Seek Justice.
The Courts Require it.
The Victims Cry for it.
And God Demands it”.
At 0902, a rental truck packed with explosives detonated in front of the nine-story Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. The powerful explosion blew off the building’s north wall. Emergency crews raced to Oklahoma from across the country, and when the rescue effort finally ended two weeks later the death toll stood at 168 people, including 19 young children who were in the building’s day care center at the time of the blast. More than 650 other people were injured in the bombing, which damaged or destroyed more than 300 buildings in the immediate area. The Survivor Tree and many buildings in the area still bare the scar of the horrific event for what happened here twenty three years ago. Lives were lost and many forever changed. Our country was forever changed and the event is basically lost in the passing of time, but we will NEVER FORGET”. You know, I’m not even sure it’s any consolation that the perpetrator of this crime paid with his life June 2001 by lethal injection. We know his name, but I’m not mentioning it. Only those whose lives were taken away from us are worth mentioning. Their names are under the chairs in the Field of Empty Chairs. Nineteen of which were children. God grant peace to their families and to the community of Oklahoma City. Our hearts go out to them all and to the thousands that came to rescue hundreds of survivors. The American Spirit lives on. I wrote these words last year. This year I didn’t not go down to listen to the ranger explain the story of what happened.
d, I didn’t have the heart. I didn’t want to hear the details again. It still bothers me deeply that so many lives were taken by one individual determined to kill as many innocent people as he could. It’s unconscionable. We do not remember or know the names of those that died, or their stories and we will not know what wonderful things they might have accomplished in their lives. We all know the name of the villain however. Why is his name so clear in our memory while knowing nothing of those that were killed in cold blood by this evil man? This bothers me. I was emotionally shaken while I stood under the Survivor Tree thinking of the innocent lives taken and what might have become of them had they lived. My emotions were beginning to get the best of me. I needed help. Soon my good friend and Road Guard, Peter Green came over and said it’s time again. We have taken a picture of ourselves under the Survivor Tree each year we have visited the Federal Building Memorial. That’s trip number 5 and picture number 5 at the memorial. Seeing Peter cheered me up and he doesn’t even know it. Thanks Gearshift.
We arrived in Shawnee and headed to the VFW for dinner. A most excellent meal was provided by the VFW. They even had Diet Coke. I was thrilled. Following the meal there were the usual awards, plaques and certificates graciously handed out to several recipients. A gold star family was present and the father came up and talked about things that stirred us and tugged at our emotions. It was an honor to be there to hear his solemn words of service and sacrifice and his encouragement for our continued ride until our mission was complete.
Day 4 is in the books.
“We Ride For Those That Can’t”
Tom “Twotone” Lystrup – Platoon 5 Leader / Midway Route SitRep Writer
I’d appreciate your comments. For those that have emailed me their comments, my thanks and my love to you all.