May 28, 2023
Sitrep for Sandbox, the night before leaving
It’s the first day on the road for the Sandbox Route. Everyone gathered for the morning briefing. We had the Pledge, then the National Anthem by our very own Siren that is always a treat.
Introductions always come … Gold Star families, Blue Star families, active duty and FNGs. We show our respect for them.
Safety came next. There are always reminders each day because safety is first.
These are the things that will be done each morning. Recognition is so important for people, particularly those who have lost someone. The next leg will also be emotional as Sandbox Route goes to the Middle East Conflicts Wall, a living memorial to which b names are still sadly being added. Say their names. Tell their stories.
There was a special gift to Gunny who is the inspiration for what is RFTW.
Then it was time to go. Our first stop was gas. Disappointment. Baskin-Robbins wasn’t open. But Dunkin’ Donuts was.
We headed to the Stoystown Legion Post 157 in Pennsylvania for lunch. Old barns. Fences. Beautiful green pastures. Pretty purple flowers. Cows. Horses. And winding two-lane back roads. The hills went up and down like a roller coaster. Then we made a turn and arrived. There’s even a covered bridge included.
The Flight 93 Memorial was the next stop. It’s a beautiful area, green with lots of trees. We took a winding road to the parking lot. In the distance you could see the wall with all of the names of those who heroically went down with the aircraft in 2011.
Story boards tell about what happened that day.
There was a wreath-laying ceremony and tears flowed freely. It’s a moving place and you can spend hours there. But it was time to go.
Two Gold Star families were recognized. One spoke of her son, Peter. He joined the infantry. His mom said that puts you up front, doesn’t it? He then became a dog handler, of Duke. His mom said that puts you even further up front, doesn’t it? Yes.
Peter was killed and his parents got his dog, Duke. He passed away since last year. His mom said Peter wasn’t a typical Marine. He wrestled at 112 pounds. He was infantry and they’re first in. With a dog they’re even further up front. It’s been 12 years now, but Peter was where he wanted to be. The hole is still there and the healing is constant. We thank you for helping to keep those memories alive.
Bugs and Polar Bear were recognized for their work for the Museum and their veterans.
We said thank you loudly multiple times then it was time to head to the hotels and get ready for tomorrow
“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live” Martin Luther King, Jr.