Day 4 Saturday May 20, 2017
What a fantastic day. Great weather! A little cold to start and a little windy, but we’re under a high pressure area. Know what that means? No rain. The high pressure is pushing the rain east. God is blessing us just as our Chaplain’s Corp has prayed for. Thank you Heavenly Father. I’m sure the weather is helping us travel safely as well as all your prayers. Thank you. Everyone made it to Shawnee in one piece. We had LEO escort throughout our trip through Oklahoma.
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, more specifically one Missing in Action and one Killed in Action. The Outreach Team will be visiting their families today. God bless them. Then High Maintenance read another bio of a fallen hero. 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 time. The overpasses were covered with patriots waving flags and saluting as we passed under. Again our fuel stops were sponsored in Oklahoma. We were scheduled to stop in Clinton at the Veteran’s Center, but for some reason we couldn’t and arrangements were made for us to stop near the Stafford’s Air & Space museum for lunch. These arrangements were made by local folks with only a few days’ notice. We sure did appreciate their service and the great food we received there.
While were having lunch, I talked with Laurie Waggoner “Talking Hands”. I told her I was writing up the Sit Reps and she mentioned a lady that is traveling with us. She said at age 70 she decided to get a tattoo and buy a motorcycle. Her family didn’t know about this idea. They thought she had lost it when they finally heard. This is her 77th year and she still rides. In fact, she’s going all the way to DC with us. Her name is Karol Oules and she rides in my platoon. If you happen to see her, recognize her for her efforts. This is one amazing lady. Thank you Karol for stepping up your game to include Run For The Wall. I think you show remarkable resilience and gumption not present in the ordinary. You are unique. Truly a one-off gal and I’m thankful to know you.
We had a few minutes to spare so we headed over to the museum. “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”. (Thanks Wiki).
On our way to Oklahoma City, traffic got plenty worse but riding with LEO made it much easier. Still there was some rubber-banding and the occasional vehicle that needed on or off the interstate, so we made room for them. That’s really not an option since most of the time motorcycles lose. One of our Road Guards, Peter Green “Gearshift” noticed a driver in a cage determined to merge into our pack while the platoon was unaware of her presence. He pulled in front of this car in a somewhat safe manner, so the driver would know not to proceed, all the while keeping the pack safe. I’m not sure others know that although the Road Guards are not to endanger their own lives, what they do is dangerous and they are all appreciated by our riders and our leadership. 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 my brother Gearshift.
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 bear the scar of the horrific event for what happened here twenty two years ago. Lives were forever changed. Our country was forever changed, 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. 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.
We arrived in Shawnee and headed to the VFW for dinner. A most excellent meal was provided by the VFW. Following the meal there were probably the usual awards, plaques and certificates graciously handed out, but I had to depart early so I only suspect this occurred. Feeling a little under the weather, I asked Bandit if it was okay to leave early and was granted his permission. For better or worse, the mission goes on and I will be there to continue it to completion.
Day 4 is done. Onto Day 5, the half way point.
Tom “Twotone” Lystrup Platoon 6 Leader / Sit Rep Writer