TULSA - Memorial weekend in Tulsa was something very special this year . A weekend I will never forget.
I am not a veteran, not very proficient with firearms, and would not know one thing about military tactics. And even though I minored in history, and could name all the Presidents, give you dates, quote the Gettysburg Address , I must admit it is overwhelming to understand what kind of mindset it must take to risk your life for your country.
I consider myself a good American. Vote every year, make sure Old Glory is waving on my front porch every Memorial Day and 4th of July. That thought process reached a new level however, after seeing and listening to what we encountered monday night.
.Here is why. Former F-16 pilot in Iraq, Tulsan Dan Rooney told the story of when he was on a flight back from the midwest. He had already participated in 3 separate tours of duty in Iraq. Now back to civilian life, he was a passenger. As his commercial flight pulled into the gate, the pilot came on the loudspeaker to ask his passengers to please observe a moment and remain seated while a casket of a fallen hero was being removed from the plane. Rooney was shocked to see at least half the passengers disregard the request. From that point on, Rooney decided enough was enough. He was going to do something. Anything. At that moment the Folds of Honor was born.
An explanation as to what the Folds of Honor Foundation coming right up but first the set-up. This past Memorial Day started with a day of golf on the new Patriot Golf Club, having been introduced to several war veterans who had suffered war related injuries. It was great for the soul, a fun time, comraderie at its finest.
Later we all gathered for an evening of discussion and ceremony. By the time the evening reached the midway point, there was not a dry eye in the house. Dan Rooney had hit his mark. So did the family that had retrieved the casket of the fallen hero on the day. As did the mother of 5 who had lost her husband on the day after Thanksgiving. His plane had been downed by enemy artillery. She had the guts to tell her story in front of thousands of people. It was quite sobering.
Now for what the Fold of Honor Foundation hopes to accomplish. The goal of the Foundation is to not only raise awareness of what it must be like losing a loved one to battle, but also to raise funds for scholarships in support of the children who have lost dads or moms in a war. The first year, Rooney raised 8-thousand dollars. He knew he had to find other ways to get his point across . He did. The next year he developed a program through the PGA of America to have a Folds of Honor Golf Weekend each Labor Day Weekend. A portion of the weekend green fees would be donated to the Folds of Honor. Rooney managed to get 13-hundred courses to participate, and raised over $1 million dollars in 2008. In 2009, it was $3 million. With the inclusion of the new Patriot Golf Club, all the golf proceeds will go to the Foundation. He expects this Labor Day fund raising efforts to reach new heights.
So, while we enjoy the rest of the summer that starts with Memorial Day, continues through the 4th of July, and concludes with Labor Day, remember this. Thanks to those who fought for our country, we can go jump in the pool, stay cool and enjoy eating hot dogs on the grill. and enjoy our way of life in America.
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