We were back in DC visiting at Bethesda Naval hospital. Eddie's publisher, Joyce Faulkner was with us. She was very moved by what she saw as we visited with our injured troops. Joyce was able to meet Travis Greene before he left for home for a visit (his story was told in an earlier blog).
While we were in a patients room, Eddie's cell phone rang. He saw that the call was coming from a 972 area code. The patient we were visiting said "That's my area code, I'm from Dallas, TX." I told Eddie it was my brother Richard's area code so perhaps he should answer the call. He answered and soon we all heard him say, "Sir"....so I KNEW it wasn't my brother! Joyce and I were VERY surprised to learn he was talking to Mr Ross Perot! I had sent him a book just a few days ago as we were leaving for our trip. He had received it, read it AND was calling us! He told Eddie that if he were injured this was the book he would want to read. Mr Perot wanted to know how he could get some books to send to the Pentagon. Eddie told him that we were in DC and could take them there ourselves if that would work. Mr Perot made a call to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs office and then had Eddie call to set up a meeting time! Since we had a picnic to attend with our troops that afternoon we set the meeting for the next day.
We set out early to be sure to be on time. As we arrived at the Pentagon, we had no idea where to park or where to enter the building. Eddie pulled into a parking lot and up to an officers shack to ask where we should park. Immediately the officer said "You can't park here". Eddie was getting his handicap parking sign up to ask where there was handicap parking and the guard said, "You can't park here with that either". The man began to give rather lengthy directions to a lot where we could park, but then said "Who are you going to see?" I handed him the telephone number of the Joint Chiefs office. He dialed the number then looked over to his partner and said, "They are going to the Chairman's office".
He then told Eddie to "follow me". We were led to a parking space up close to the building....in the lot that we "could not" park in! He then made a call and had an officer come to escort us into the building. We were led into the building, given ID badges and taken to a waiting area. A Marine was sent to take us to General Peter Pace's office. The Chairman had been called out to another meeting but we were able to meet with his staff for some time and leave 10 books to be passed out. We were each given one of General Pace's challenge coins which is in the shape of the Pentagon! (A great coin to add to Eddie's collection.)
After our visit, when we were back in the car, we just sat there for awhile telling ourselves to "remember to breathe" What an honor it had been to be inside that building! We are very blessed to have had this privilege. It has also been a privilege to have been in touch with Mr Perot. I am not sure that he even realizes how much his call and setting up this visit meant to us. He is a man who cares for our troops and we appreciate that. Some day perhaps we can tell him how much this has meant to us in person.