I keep putting off writing...so many things going on AND thinking I will wait till I get the photos downloaded on the computer. But decided not to wait for that...might take a while longer to get that accomplished!
We were privileged to attend the Purple Heart Event in Branson in April. We have had to just do those things that are closer to home as we are low on funds and have not had much in the way of donations lately. I can tell you that being able to get there is wonderful because when Eddie is out and around other veterans he is in his element AND feels his best! He'd love to be on the road visiting ALL the time....wellllllllll...maybe not ALL the time...but most of the time. (He does enjoy some time at home working outside on the property...
mowing and planting new bushes, trees, shrubs or flowers...and this past week he has done that as well as plant a small garden for the grandchildren to help him tend. They have been waiting to get that done!)
We started early on Friday by getting up at 4:45 AM so we could go to Branson Landing to see Al Roker! He was in town and we thought it would be interesting to just say we saw him! There was a large crowd gathered even that early and we got a glimpse of how they film his part of the show.
From there we went to the Day Room for registration. It was good to see our friends Chip and Sandy who are so generous to always run the Day Room. This is a great place for veterans to go and meet...to talk and visit and spend time. It was only opened for a few hours for this even, but is open all week during Veterans week in November......AND Chip and Sandy run it for the entire week!
We always enjoy spending time there visiting with the veterans...meeting new people and renewing acquaintances from past years. This day was no exception, we saw people we knew and also made new friends.
The opening ceremonies were at the Hamner Barber theater and Eddie was asked to say the opening prayer. It was so nice to be able to meet Dave Hamner and Jim Barber....we were back stage visiting for about 45 minutes before the start of the ceremonies. It has been amazing to meet so many wonderful people as we do things in Branson and elsewhere in our travels. At the opening ceremony they had a speaker talking about PTSD which was very informative for many of those attending.
The next day there was a show at the Hamner Barber theater for the veterans which included a variety of the talent from other shows as well as Dave and Jim performing. AND of course Dalena Ditto was there! A trip to Branson would not be complete if Eddie did not get to see her! We have gotten to be good friends with her and her husband...though on this short trip there was not time to go see her show...and visit with her family. (We did not even have time to see Eddie's family that live in town.) The closing number caused "sweaty eyes" for most of us. It is an interview of 3 Iwo Jima survivors and recipients of the Purple Heart....and shows the flag raising on Iwo. After the number those 3 veterans were brought up on stage and given a chance to say a few words. WOW...what a way to end a show!
The closing ceremony was at Branson Landing. This time the crowd was gathered to honor the Purple Heart recipients who were attending these events.
Eddie was asked to wear his uniform again and to help in the flag raising ceremony. He is always glad to do anything that Marlyce or anyone in Branson asks him to do. It was awesome to watch these veterans march into the plaza area. The guest speaker who is also a friend insisted on being the one to help push Eddie down the ramp to the stage area. Barbara Fairchild and her husband Roy sang to the audience during this ceremony.
We had a wonderful time, though it went by too quickly. We plan to be back in town the end of May just to rest and visit with all those we could not see on this trip.