Greetings from downtown Austin, Texas! I am overlooking the Colorado River from my room at the Hyatt Regency. The last time I was in Austin I was stationed just up the road at Ft. Hood.
We are now halfway through the KPCRAA. Today took us from west Texas, through the heart of Texas, and into my favorite area, Texas hill country. The theme for today was brotherhood — and don’t go getting all politically correct on me. This has nothing to do with gender.
Today Hershel Walker and I were interviewed jointly — amazing — two sons of Georgia, the same age, one a professional athlete, the other a professional soldier. The interviewer asked Herschel, “With all your money, why not just write a check? Why be out here in the heat on a motorcycle, riding cross country for the Victory Junction Children’s Camp?”
At that moment the theme for today’s missive struck with clarity. I realized it’s easy to sit back and simply write a check. We call that “dialing it in” in the military. If it’s a cause you believe in, such as a children’s charity, or the preservation of your country, it means making a visible stand, sacrifice, and commitment.
The faces of those people we see as we ride through these small cities and towns have been emblazoned on my memory. The face of the man in Eunice, NM, who came out and stood proudly, taking his hat off, and placing it over his heart as we drove past. The faces of the children who gaze, with joy in their eyes, and perhaps dream of the day they can join this “brotherhood of bikers” who mount up on the Iron Horse and represent the most basic of American principles, liberty.
Why is it that folks come out and line the streets when they hear the roar of the engines? What is it that inspires them to line the streets and make their own videos of the riders?
It’s simple. It is a timeless bond between people and their warriors — like the knights of old — riding through the countryside providing comfort and a sense of reassurance to the people. That is why you don’t just sit back and write a check; you mount up and make the journey.
So, it was appropriate when we pulled into the gas stop in San Angelo, Texas, and we were greeted by the local Blue Knights International Chapter members. One year ago I was inducted as an Honorary Member of the Blue Knights, the law enforcement motorcycle club. I have my vest with its symbol of a knight upon a white horse with me (but the horse has a motorcycle wheel).
My brothers joined us and trailed our ride from San Angelo to Mason, Texas, where we were treated to a well-deserved feast after a hard ride. Our Menu at the Willow Creek Café? A choice of chicken fried steak or chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans — and to wash it down, sweet tea! Sitting with me in this special hall were men and women riders, coming together for a cause, willing to travel from sea to shining sea to show their commitment to children who are so deserving of a blessing and fulfillment of their dreams.
This simple brotherhood is formed in our “pursuit of happiness.” We have embarked on a mission to advance the “pursuit of happiness” for others. That is why, I believe, our fellow Americans lined the streets of Fredericksburg, and Johnson City today. That is why folks stopped work just to pay their respects and wave as we pass through.
Of course, this is a phenomenon that the elites cannot understand, siting in their swanky clubs and attending their extravagant cocktail parties, consuming eccentric delicacies and drinking sparkling water with lemon. As for me, give me the brotherhood.
We are halfway done with this endeavor but its memories shall be lasting.
I wish to share with you my favorite speech — St. Crispin’s Day speech — from Shakespeare’s Henry V. I smiled today when these monumental words came to mind as we rode — “We few, we merry few, we band of brothers.” These riders, whom I had not known before last Friday, are my Brothers — and yep — the women are likewise, folks; no PC stuff. Shakespeare’s Henry V may have been fictional, but these words will resonate with me as I ride in this the 20th Anniversary of the KPCRAA:
“He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day.”
I hope you enjoy the video.
Tomorrow we depart Austin for Beaumont, TX. Our western trek is complete.
Steadfast and Loyal.