Tribute Bike UPDATE 09/11/14
During this last leg of my NFR I am NOT on the Tribute Bike. I didn't realize that this might be an issue and you all have my sincerest apologies. The bike itself is fine - due to issues with me I had to change bikes. The VTX will be maintined for parades and shows - and POSSIBLY on long runs with someone else riding it. The new bike (2014 Honda Gold Wing) will be painted the same as the VTX at a later date (possibly with some additional images). The paint job will be completed in time for Run For The Wall, 2015. To do the tribute paint job my artist insists that the panels, fenders, etc be REMOVED from the bike - as she does fantastic work, I do what she asks. For local events, whilee the new bike is getting painted, I will use the VTX. In the meantime, the new bike will have the 3' x 5' USA Flag flying (until I run out of flags). I've gone thru 3 in 2600 miles and only have 5 left. I will do my best and once I get done, I'll have more flag waiting for me in California.
Memorial -Lincoln, NE - 09/10/14
This Memorial was slightly harder to find as the address does not come up in the GPS, although, the address was correct.
Today they were doing some minor cleanup as tomorrow is Patriots Day. It did not need much cleanup - its obviously well maintained. The area is referred to as the Veterans Memorial Garden and includes all wars and has a slightly different approach. The pavers with the names of the veterans on them are actually placed in 6 foot squares and are set up like easels or solar panels around the edge of the main Memorial. This is the first time I've seen this and it actually makes it easier to read. You can stand in one place, turn in a circle and see how many heroes are present. The grounds keeper said that one of the reasons he heard was that with the pavers elevated like this, no one steps on them. Personally I think this is a "state of mind" more than an actual issue. I do admit that when I go to cemeteries I avoid walking on graves and grave stones - just doesn't seem right.
In addition to all wars, the Memorial has separate tributes to various groups - the Women Service Pilots, Medical personal, Airborne, Black Soldiers, Seabees, Special Forces and more. Its not unique but does add a lot to the Memorials. A fairly large display of remembrance, different and well thought out. You can see the thought and feelings that went into this memorial and as with all the Memorials...
Memorial - Council Bluffs, Iowa 09/10/14
This Memorial is in a downtown area a little off the "beaten path" but easy to find - and well worth it.
The Veterans Park runs along the street with a Wall similar in nature and design to the Vietnam Wall but the Wall includes names from the Civil War thru current conflict, as well as some that died while serving not in combat.
Along the Wall their are some obelisks with names from 'Nam broke down by year. In front of the Wall, their is a bronze couple pointing at one specific name - I lost the name so I can't look it up but it was a service member from WWI. But every name would have a special meaning to someone (as it should). Its also a visual reminder that people do remember our fallen. On additional panel set as "The Glory of Their Spirit" authored by Richard Peterson. Its well worth the reading and the emotions that go with it. In front of these two panels is a lily pond - the other panels behind the pond have "Gold Stars" on it. Behind the wall, in the middle of the park, is a large water fountain - beautiful and adds to the serenity of the site. There were a couple of dozen people around the park but I couldn't tell if thy were visiting the Memorial or just visiting the park.
Memorial - Sioux Falls, SD 09/09/14
This Memorial is actually a combination of Memorials - all wars PLUS some individual memorials for those that have not come home. All in a beautiful and well maintained park. You enter thru some arches dedicated to our fundamental practice and beliefs and laid out with the various campaigns/wars as well as Medal of Honor Memorial with individual plaques to those MoH recipients from South Dakota. Its a walk thru emotions covering everything you can imagine both visually and spiritually - another place where the memories can flow - and they do.
Today I was escorted there by my host George Mellinger (also gave me a place to stay for the nite (his house) and fed me - much appreciated). Along with George we had Gene and Gary on their bikes and all 3 representing PGR, USMC, USAF, USA, MCL, AL - in general - PATRIOTS and men that will not let our veterans be forgotten. Obviously a community that support the veterans and participate in many veteran related functions.