They say that all good things must come to an end, and so it is for the 20th Anniversary KPCRAA 2014.
It seems that we just began out trek from Carlsbad, CA, and now it is over. It is bittersweet. I have made a great many new friends with whom I have shared some adverse moments. Most importantly, though, we shared a glorious adventure. “We few, we merry few, we band of brothers” — riders of the Iron Horse. And all for a wonderful cause: to benefit American children and their own special camp, Victory Junction — and notice the camp is named Victory, not victim!
A very special hat tip to Kyle Petty, Morgan Castano, and the entire KPCRAA ride staff, medical team, Motor Marshals, PR team, maintenance team, and the impeccable logistics team who handled our baggage and RONs (rest overnights). What a highly professional group of men and women who made this look just effortless in execution. Yep, I wholeheartedly recommend y’all sign up for next year. If you have never done something like this, you will not regret it.
So we depart and head our separate ways, separate but always together. The final dinner was similar to knights gathering after a conquest, telling raucous stories of their triumph. In this case, our triumph was creating an opportunity for deserving children to attend camp.
This is what America is all about — Americans caring for each other. We don’t need Big Brother policy makers from far away believing that they know what it best for us. We care for each other. All we need are the resources to do so.
It has been a distinct pleasure to have shared with you my thoughts, perspectives, and insights, as I traveled across our beloved constitutional republic. The country for which I was more than willing to give the last full measure of devotion to preserve, and it was an honor serving with those who did. This is a great country. Let’s keep it that way, realizing that no one person can destroy America, our home. That perversion and destruction is possible only if each and every one of us willingly abdicates our God given birthright of liberty and freedom.
Our final stop was in Starke, Florida, at the Kangaroo Station, for gas and a lunch snack. There I met a mom who simply embodied the greatest values of an American mother. She ran up to me and gave me a big hug and began to cry. She told me her story of raising three children alone with no government assistance. She worked as a truck driver and was proud to tell me that she owes no one anything for her car, home, or her sport bike GS-X racing model. What a mom! Her three kids, two older boys and a younger girl, are 27, 21, and 18 respectively. She told me about her oldest son who took a left turn (funny how we associate going off track with the left direction), but her pride and joy — what made her most ecstatic — was her 21 year old Army Ranger son. She also told me that her young daughter is considering joining the Navy.
As I listened to this impressive woman, I was reminded of “Snooks” West — her toughness and her sincere love. The woman in Starke loved her Ranger son so much she had the Ranger tab tattooed on her right under forearm, which she proudly showed me. She never considered herself as victim, and sought to raise her children as victors not victims. Happy Mother’s Day, ma’am.
One a final thought, I want to wish all American mothers a great Mother’s Day. As you sit being gifted, spoiled, loved, and pampered ask yourself, “What gift will I leave to my children and grandchildren?” My mother, Elizabeth Thomas “Snooks” West passed away in January 1994, when she was 63 years old. She was laid to rest with my dad, her beloved husband, “Buck” West, in Marietta National Cemetery — one man, one woman, as in life, so they are in death. I know she wished for me to become a strong, principled, and fearless American black man. She wanted me to be tough and unyielding in the face of dishonor and adversity.
Therefore, this Mother’s Day, moms, consider what your legacy will be for those subsequent generations. Are you raising victors or victims? Are you raising future Guardians or sheep? “Snooks” West was an old school southern mom and I am so glad she was. Her resolve lives on. Her legacy is secure. And therefore the legacy of America will be preserved.
Steadfast and Loyal!