Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Faith Goes to Washington

(Manassas, Mike Maguire Faith's agent with her at the TJ, Carol Guzy of the POST and Me with Faith at the White House)

Washington DC is just such an amazing city in and of itself, but we were able to visit several cities surrounding the DC area including several battlefields as well. My son was so very very jealous that Faith and I were at Manassas (1 & 2) and that we walked on the same ground that Stonewall Jackson, Lee, and so many others walked. I was on the phone talking to Reuben early in the morning from the forest of the battlefield when Jesus decided to break through a bunch of clouds just over the horizon, and through rays of pure white sunlight you could almost see the men in their uniforms, and smell their morning breakfasts as they prepared to fight their counterparts just over the other side of the ridge. Yes, I cried. I held onto a cannon that I tell people is the great-great-great-great grandfather of Reuben's Stryker tank vehicle now - my son's spirit was certainly with me at Manassas.

Later we went to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, but I can't post the pictures we took for privacy reasons. Let me tell you though, the men (and one woman) that we met who had been injured in Iraq before coming to WRAMC were so incredibly brave, and so humbled by their experience, they were not bitter - nor were they shy. They stood up on crutches, sat straight in their wheelchairs and they told me stories that would make any grown man break down. I think because my heart was inside each of their words I was able to hold back the tears only because as they were talking I was praying and thanking God for their love of freedom, their desire to fight for me, their willingness to go back if they could, they were some of the most amazing people I have ever met. One in particular captured my heart completely. His name is Frank. He is a Private First Class I believe, and he was about 19 years old. He had lost both legs very recently, and with both of his hands he held Faith close to him and he kissed her. He informed me that he was on medications - I could tell - but he wanted me to know that Faith was doing what he wanted to be doing in a little while. He wanted to walk. He wanted to be the one making people happy. I told Frank that in six months we can find him, and he will be walking NEXT TO Faith....by his own faith.

Walter Reed is the best place I have ever had visited. Bar none! Thank you guys for your love, your courage, your strength, and your power. I don't want to miss anyone, but here is a shout out: Frank, Jon, Jon, John, Bryan, Brian, Will, Jesse, Greg (Boomer Sooner), and of course Harvey, Reyes, Captain Mobit, Tanya, the staff girls, and First SGT George the therapy dog! (Hey to Deuce too, he's a therapy dog too, but we didn't get to meet him).

After Walter Reed Faith and Mike took me to the White House where we were promptly asked to leave the area because Faith (as you know) causes a distraction wherever she goes. We had hundreds of people standing around outside the gates of the White House and Jason the police officer laughed at us, but he made us "disperse" so we went 10-20 feet and it happened again. We went a little further, and it happened again. That Faith! She just gets me into trouble.

We walked over to the other monuments too - this time we took Carol Guzy of the Washington Post with us. To get there we had to take the Metro Train from where we were visiting, and we met hundreds of more onlookers as Faith is probably one of the only dogs they'll ever see on the train. She's special you know. Anyway, we went to the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the WWII monument, the long pool just outside of the Lincoln Memorial, and I think we passed the Korean War Wall, but we were really tired and had very little time to get back. While at the Jefferson Memorial (I called it TJ's) we were walking up the steps and as Faith climbed a few of the steps hundreds of people stood and gave her an ovation! She's happy to accept it of course. She invited them all to pet her - most did.

We let her be a dog and chase squirrels both at the White House and the various memorials. She was up and down a lot, but she was happy and showing off her monster-wagging tail. She hangs her tongue out to one side of her mouth a lot as well, so that when the tongue and the tail are going she looks like the happy little puppy that she is. This was something Carol Guzy picked up on several times, and her photo journalism work paid off for her. We were featured on the front page of her newspaper the Washington Post - and the POST put the story on the AP. Just this morning I had an interview with a woman with Der Spiegel, a weekly magazine in Germany. I will be talking with the newspaper journalists from the Netherlands in the morning, and one from Sydney tomorrow. I believe that will be a magazine article as well.

This weekend we will be at an expo in Grand Rapids, MI and then flying straight from there to NYC to do a segment on Good Morning America (we hope) and we'd love to pick up a few other shows while in town...I know I would love to see the Rustic Bridge again and get better pictures of that; I'm a big fan of Central Park.

So there you have it - Faith goes to Washington. I think we ate more than we needed to, but thanks to the good men and women of the DC area Faith had reason to walk a little more, chase a few more woodland creatures, and rest a bit - she can't wait to go back!

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