Wednesday, August 29, 2007
This likely is our last blog as we roll out of Chicago, Illinois, and toward McLean, Virginia, to get back into the school and work routine.
But there is lots to say about Chicago and the little miracles and blessings along the way. We continued to have great weather. The wind and rain that had caused such destruction in the Chicago area had blown out and we woke to a magnificent sunrise over Lake Michigan. And we did see the sun rise as the family was interviewed on NBC5 Chicago during the 6am morning show. We always enjoy the opportunity to get the word out about how Americans can thank military families with the gift of education.
Our next stop was the fascinating McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum located on North Michigan Avenue next to the Chicago Tribune. There we met with the museum's Executive Director, David Anderson, and learned more about the museum and about the McCormick Foundation's involvement in efforts to support the military. Thank you Lisa and Jeff from the USO for arranging the visit. For those of you with school-age children visiting Chicago, you should make the time to stop by the museum as the interactive exhibits make learning about American history and, in particular, issues related to the First Amendment, fun.
Speaking of the First Amendment, we were also delighted to wake up and see a ThanksUSA op ed penned by Bob appear in the Wall Street Journal. You can find a link to it on our homepage.
We also had serendipity. Walking down crowded Michigan Avenue (in the section known as "The Miraculous Mile"), we spotted our long-time friends from Arlington -- The Katz Family. We had no idea we were all in Chicago, so we took advantage of the chance encounter and had a nice lunch together. We also got to congratulate Bev Katz on completing the Chicago Triathlon -- her first! She was part of a Team N Training raising money to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Way to go, Bev!
We ended our day with a trip to the Navy Pier. We thought it appropriate that the last photo of our treasure hunt loving daughters is with some pirates!
Tomorrow, we turn the car for home, having enjoyed seeing more of America and meeting so many wonderful people along the way.
Thanks to all who read the blog and who supported scholarships with donations. We apologize to those who tried to leave comments unsuccessfully. We were never able to fix the technical glitch that was blocking the incoming comments.
Had to add one more entry for South Dakota to tell you about the wonderful Clark family. We caught up with the Clarks over coffee in Rapid City, South Dakota. Karline Clark was a 2006 ThanksUSA scholarship recipient. Her husband, Mike, is active duty Air Force. We met two of their children, Acadia, just starting 3rd grade, and Zachary, just starting 5th grade.
Karline used her scholarship to go back to school to obtain her teaching degree as part of a program in South Dakota to train and recruit highly qualified individuals to teach. In a fifteen minute conversation, you know she is going to be an excellent teacher, both in how she related to her own children and to Rachel and Kelsi.
All the Clarks were interested in our trip and they related how they have used trips to help history come alive for their own children. We encouraged them to play the ThanksUSA American History Treasure Hunt game to test their knowledge.
Before leaving South Dakota we stopped at the Wild Horse Sanctuary outside Hot Springs. This 11,000 acre sanctuary has more than 550 wild horses. The sanctuary also has a rich past, and we enjoyed not only seeing the beautiful horses with many healthy foals at their side, but also learning more about the history of the Sioux Indians as well as the homesteaders who lived in a still existing cave while they built their cabins. We also saw the site of the Sioux Sundance Ceremony that takes place each year. (This land was also the set for the movie, "Crazy Horse" and for scenes from the movie, "Hidalgo.")
Next, we start heading east through Nebraska and Iowa en route to Chicago. It looks like all the storms have blown out ahead of us although we can see water along the side of the roads and in the fields.