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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gathering of Eagles Update-Christmas Cheer For Our Warriors

Via email from GOE, which brings me to this Gathering of Eagles Page:

Several weeks ago I met a Vice President for a major shipping company. He offered to ship 100-150 boxes to our men and women in the field if we could get them together within 10 days. I am happy to say that the out-pouring of support was 4 times that, but then the attorneys got involved. Apparently a shipper can ship military equipment and supplies, but no parcels. With boxes stacking up around us, and no means of getting them to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Philadelphia Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Society stepped in. It is not hyperbolic to say that not a whole lot gets done in Philadelphia without their help. This case is no different. They stepped up and agreed to fund the entire shipment. The hope is still that we will receive some manner of assistance from corporate sponsors, but the ‘Nammies care not. What matters to them is that our brave men and women get the luxuries they deserve. Kudos to you gentlemen, and just proof positive that my attaching hero status to those who fought in Vietnam is well-founded. Merry Christmas. Manchu.

Chris Hill
National Director for Operations.

YEAHHHHHHH to the Philadelphia Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Society!!!!!!!!

Aren't these people wonderful?

Speaking of wonderful, have you seen all the wonderful things Move America Forward has been doing?

Day 17
- Raleigh, NC

We just left Raleigh, on our way to Norfolk, Virginia. We just wrapped up one of the best rallies we’ve had all tour long, which we held at the state capitol there in North Carolina. Having the patriot guard riders to escort us was special, and when we got there, even though we were half an hour early (thanks again to better planning and adding extra time in – otherwise we would have been late) there was already a nice little crowd gathered and waiting for us.

We had two radio stations with us for this rally and they were already set up and helping out with entertaining our visitors while they waited for us to arrive. We had to be careful when we were unloading the bus because there was nowhere to pull over so we had to basically run out into traffic when no one was coming, grab what we could and try to get back to the sidewalk before anyone turned us into roadkill!

We got everything set up and people were up at the tables signing cards before we had a chance to even start the rally. The patriot guard riders opened up the storage compartments in all of their bikes and somehow produced 5,000 cards for our troops. They stacked the cards up on one of our tables, dominating half of it. We had to bring out a third table for the first time in our tour because of the PGRs cards and so many other people bringing more and more cards. Cards came from several local area schools. One teacher brought her whole 4th grade class to the rally, they had scheduled a tour of the capitol and had also made dozens of cards for the troops beforehand. The kids just lined up, each of them with three, four or five cards in hand, and walked by me with my red sack open, each kid in the procession dropping his cards down and thanking us for being there! They were awesome.

There were actually at least 5 or 6 schools there today, taking tours of the capitol. I walked over to the teachers with each group and invited them over, I think probably three of them took us up on the offer, came down, and signed some cards for the troops. Either way it was a great day both for signing and collecting!

I actually pulled a couple of cards out of the bag here, so that I could give you all an idea of what all these kids write and how each and every one of our 100,000 PLUS cards are written from the deepest hearts of our supporters. They are in no way empty, or ‘stock feelings’ they are absolutely genuine and heartfelt. Let me just show you, and let these kid’s cards speak for themselves.

Dear Troops

Thank –you for all your Support, thank-you for protecting us. You are our modle we look up to you. Have a happy and safe Christmas we love you.

Lupita and Karina

Merry X-mas 

I just wanted to let you know how thankful we are to have heroes like you, giving up so much for what you believe in. Without you, America wouldn’t be the country that it is today.

God Bless You,
Nate W.
Cathedral School
Raleigh, N.C.

Finally, I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with two blue star moms who came to our rally. They are members of the organization Blue Star Mothers of America, North Carolina.

Duckie Yates of Four Oaks, NC is the Chapter President of Chapter 1, NC. She has been president of the club for one year and in that year they have seen the expansion of the club from one statewide chapter, to 6, with 3 of those already formed with two in the process of forming right now. Her son US Army Specialist Ben Yates, 27, has been in the US Army eight years now, served 3 years in Kosovo, one year in Iraq (2004-2005) and is now on his way back for another 15 month tour of duty. Ben has spent the last year or so training recruits at the National Training Center for Desert Warfare at Fort Irwin in Barstow, CA. Specialist Yates is also trained as an Explosive Ordinance Clearing Agent (EOCA) which basically means his job is to walk or ride out in front of military caravans and convoys, looking for IEDs or signs of IEDS. When he spots one, Ben’s job is to neutralize and disable the IED before it has the chance to damage any of our equipment, trucks or harm our troops. Being an EOCA, I imagine, has to be one of the most dangerous jobs in our armed forces today, making Ben one of the bravest and boldest we have serving today. Duckie tells me that Ben comes from a long line of military family and has wanted to join the military since he was 12 years old, inspired to do so by his grandfather who served in the US Army Air Corps and the US Air Force in World War Two, Korea, AND Vietnam.

Then I met Patti Elliot of Youngsville, NC. She described her family as the complete opposite of Ben and his family. Her son is 18 years old, an Army Reservist who graduated high school in December of 2006 (home schooled) and left for basic training two weeks later. He is currently training to be an MP, studying business, and competing in the school’s rifle and marksmanship team at the Military College of Georgia. He was inspired to join the service from local North Carolinian Bob Hughes, his rifle team coach since her son started shooting at the age of 13. Patti says that the most touching thing about being a member of the Blue Star Mom’s club is that even though most of the members of the organization have sons who have been deployed in a war zone, either in Iraq or Afghanistan, Patti still gets treated the same and has the same support network as any other mom, just by virtue of the fact that her son is in the military. It’s great to know that there are organizations out there that do not care whether your son has, fought, been injured or died in a war, only that your son or daughter has SERVED.

Check out all the wonderful stops they made on the Honoring Heroes at the holidays tour!!!

Links from days 1-9 can be found on a previous Wake up America piece, here.

Also, do not forget Freedom's Watch and their wonderful videos thanking the troops.