Sunday, December 5th:
The Bears just won, so that’s good. But the Pack just won and that’s bad.
Robin and I are planning 9 hours of football today and we just reached the 1/3 point. I made a fire and she made snacks. Holly and Kevin are getting ready for Christmas.
I took a moment to check the Gassen Mission status and was pleased to find that it is confirmed and that Jeff DeVries was appointed RC. I scrolled through the comments and noticed that JDHOG has just posted:
It will be a great honor to RC this mission. I have been contacted by the family. Greg and Barb are both old friends of mine. Details will be posted as soon as they are known.
Greg it was great talking to you this morning. We will be there for your family.
Farewell Jacob and Gods speed. Rest in peace for now is your time to rest. Be at peace knowing that we will watch over your family. Much like you watched over us.
Thank you Greg and Barb for raising such an honorable son.
So Greg and Barb and Jeff are not watching football today. I realize that I have it easy only because Jake volunteered to shoulder the weight.
HOO-ahh, Jacob. Thank you for inviting us, Mr. & Mrs. Gassen.
Monday, December 6th:
Jacob is back home. Another noteworthy post:
I am the Beaver Dam Fire Chief and PGR member. Anyone making the trip on two wheels and need a place to park the bike overnight, we have room in the fire station. My number is 920-296-4610. It was my honor to help escort this hero home today from the airport. Whatever it takes!!!
“Burial services will immediately follow at Randolph Cemetery in Randolph, Wis.”
Thursday, December 9th:
The weather was cold and windy with snow expected.
I’ve been the only bike before. Today that distinction was owned by a new guy:
Bob Reinke came to his first mission on his bike.
The Honor Guard was working in shifts inside…
as the Patriot Guard was greeted by Joe Adamson outside.
The major took the hand of every flag-holder.
Don Lechner is Commander, American Legion, Wisconsin, District 2 – which includes Beaver Dam.
He too made a point of connecting with every PGRider.
Major General Yves Fontaine, Commanding General, United States Army Sustainment Command also came for Jacob and also honored every frozen member of the flagline.
I took this photo just after a discussion of how much a beard helps the wearer to keep warm. (Not much.)
I think we got extra credit because it was so cold.
We certainly appreciate everyone who spent time in the cold with us just to show their appreciation.
But we are doubly rewarded: Difficult missions make their accomplishment more rewarding.
Our Ride Captain’s 18-year-old son Joe has had a medical crisis that began last Spring. And yet he found time and energy to honor the son of his old friends. Here Jeff is engaged by SFC Kjornes.
Of all the many soldiers and others who moved along our flagline acknowledging us each of us, SFC Kjornes spent the most time with each individually.
Among other things he told me, I learned that he was part of the team that recruited Jacob.
In colonial times, the Thirteen Colonies used a militia system for local defense. Colonial militia laws—and after independence those of the United States and the various states—required able-bodied males to enroll in the militia, to undergo a minimum of military training, and to serve for limited periods of time in war or emergency. This earliest form of conscription involved selective drafts of militiamen for service in particular campaigns. Following this system in its essentials, the Continental Congress in 1778 recommended that the states draft men from their militias for one year's service in the Continental army; this first national conscription was irregularly applied and failed to fill the Continental ranks.
We overcame that and our revolution worked out. A few years later, the first words of our Constitution would read:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The fundamental role of our government is to provide for the common defence (sic) and, while conscription has always been a feature of our nation, we have not had a draft since 1973. So we ask those few who are strong enough and brave enough to step forward. The rest of us have to hope those few will be enough.
We don’t pay them much and their skills are generally not transferable to the private sector. Once they are in they are not allowed to quit and they must do whatever they are told. And it is no secret that we are talking about the “armed” forces – we send them where only the armed can go. And sometimes a treacherous enemy shoots back successfully.
So why would anyone do it? Even those who are strong enough and brave enough, why do they do it?
They do it because they are honorable and they understand that honor requires them to step forward precisely because they are strong enough and brave enough.
Thank God for those honorable few who understand.
Thank God for recruiters like SFC Kjornes who help them to understand.
“Thank you Greg and Barb for raising such an honorable son.”
And thank you, Jacob.
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