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March Date Friday September 22, 2006 March Day 98

Good Day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

'Tis another day of cool overcast weather and we sleep in a bit. We are to be fetched by 10 of the clock by Acquinetta for an hour's visit at Walter Reed Hospital, efficiently pre-arranged at our request by Pat Archer-Jacob. Our driver promptly picks us up on the main road outside the fort and is excited to be joining us for the day.

On familiar home ground, Acquinetta expertly delivers us to the hospital by winding through the long and scenic Rock Creek Park and we meet Pat and Robert outside the hospital. We are guided to the rehabilitation units and mingle with the men here who are hard at work with their various therapy regimens. Amidst technical and manual equipment, they are individually coached by their therapists. We speak with Eric, Angel, Bill, Ben and many other dedicated current soldiers who have been physically wounded in service to our country.

They work in restoring themselves to maximum function, some with IV's hanging and with still sutured or healing wounds. It is amazing to witness their high spirits, courage, and dedication... most are intent on returning to their military duties. It is an honor and a priviledge to shake these men's hands. We distribute the commemorative envelope mementos prepared by Rob Reyes. As our hour is quickly gone, the men thank us for visiting.....and continue to work.

The group lunches in the busy hospital cafeteria, and my table is joined by Sargent Benjamin from Nebraska. As he eats, he excitedly tells us of his plans for a thirty day visit home next month and of his growing faith despite his recent amputation.
All soldiers, past and present, are with us as we interact with Ben.

The remainder of the afternoon is spent locating the site of the Lycee Rochambeau in Bethesda where the marchers have been scheduled to speak. Here, International students are receiving their education in the French language. Pat, Robert and Rose in one car, Mike, Dave and David in another, occcupy the better part of an hour to reach this school and are a bit late for the presentation. But the students are ready and listen to the soldiers speak. Even as the dismissal bell rings with awaiting school buses in the yard, some eighty students remain in their seats intently listening to and questioning the men, until they are finally dismissed.

Acquinetta returns the group for our second night to Fort C.F.Smith and here she sees camp Martha for the first time. She is quite amazed at the camp's support capability. This infectiously energetic DAR lady is a delight to us all.

The group remains in camp this evening, some working on communications, others on maps and routes, others foraging the immediate area for pizza and bringing the remains back to camp.

There is a late night visit by Virginia W3R Kevin Vincent to review and correct the army's route and to plan tomorrow's border crossing ceremony into Virginia. As they sit in the muted light at the camp table, the rest of the group retires knowing that tomorrow will be a busy day. A demain.

Avec amour,
Rose