What a day! Our last event began at 5:30pm in Livermore where we met Jeannette and Warren and give out 9 quilts. We had been to the Ahmed Temple two years ago so we were expecting hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner. We picked Rita up in Stockton and we were all hungry – the traffic made it too hard to stop for food. First, they served us cream of chicken rice soup and it was delicious. They said we could have seconds. Dad Belmont – you would have really enjoyed it. Rita said she was starving and was going to have more and she did. Then they brought dinner – prime rib, mashed potatoes and peas and it wasn’t a small pile of peas and they were touching my meat! Flo saved me and took my peas and even Rita wanted some. There is something wrong with those two, both liking peas. The prime rib was unbelievably good, and a good size piece – was really a special Veterans Day dinner.
The speaker talked about Iwo Jima. In the audience was a 94 year old veteran who was actually on the island. He stood up and told everyone what he did and that after the war he had spent 26 years as a Highway Patrolman and a Marine, too. You could not tell he was 94 years old. He walked like a twenty year old. We all said we wished we could be that spry. What an honor to meet this veteran. They had every veteran stand and tell where and when they served. There were at least 50 veterans, and for the first time at least 5 were females – we surely didn’t have that many quilts.
The room was one of the most patriotic rooms with a beautiful red carpet walkway and large flags aligned along the way. When it was time for our ceremony, we had the veterans walk down the aisle and by the time they got to me they were nervous. Of course the cameras were out everywhere. The last three stand out the most to me. There was the Vietnam veteran, short little guy, walked up the aisle and saluted. Then came the 94 year old Marine and when I took his hand I told everyone there my Dad’s story about being a Marine and being in Japan and that my Dad was also retired law enforcement. They all thought that was cool and I made sure I took my picture with Howard for my Dad. Then, last but not least, was a female veteran. She kept saying that she was so honored, maybe 6 times.
I introduced our crew and told their histories with Quilts of Honor. We were honored with all the raffle money and when we sat down, our little guy came over to thank our crew and said, “I don’t deserve this; it means so much as being a Vietnam veteran, we got nothing.” Both Rita and I said, “Welcome home.” I was sorry we didn’t have more quilts.
We left the event at 9:30pm and drove to San Francisco where we spent the night. It took forever to go to sleep. We were up at 3:15am to catch the shuttle to the airport.
There are now 7 of us – Lou and Toni, Cindy, Rita, Flo and Debbie and me. We have more suitcases than carter has pills – Toni wins the prize with 4. We will meet Carl in New Orleans and try to fit us all in one big car. I bet that will be a story.
I’m writing this on the plane hoping to post it soon — we sure have been busy!
God bless and stay tuned . . . . . . .