I am bound and determined to get to every thank you on my list for the special events of June 9th before the calendar rolls into July! Bill, I cannot begin to express the depth of my gratitude for the kind attention and dedication of the Patriot Guard Riders on the afternoon of June 9th. From the day I met my one-of-a-kind soldier, he told he that one day, when the time was right, he would come home to West Point forever.
You and your crew of fine folks made that happen with glory, honor, dignity and distinctiveness. Charlie was so proud of the work that the Patriot Guard Riders did--and protective of their right to do it. When we were able to arrange for the Patriot Guard Riders to bring Charlie on his final ride across the post of his beloved alma mater, I KNOW he was there, smiling down on us all. I KNOW he enjoyed that ride at the front of the parade. That special gesture was the beginning of a remarkable memory for me, but I will never forget the feeling in my heart when he was strapped into that seat, protected by his own team of Patriot Guard Riders.
Yes, the weather was fine. Yes, it was heartwarming to have so many of Charlie's family, friends and colleagues gather. But the day was made perfect and special because the right symbolic things happened to bring Charlie to his final resting place. From the yellow rose that Charlene Robbins gave me to the lifetime membership in Tri-County Viet Nam Veterans, from Taps to the flag folding ceremony, each moment was a punctuation mark. Still, without the Patriot Guard Riders, it would not have been complete; you all would have been missed; Charlie would have whispered in my ear that I forgot the best part!
So thank you for taking a day away from family, friends and busy lives to be there for me, for my family, and, most especially, for my American hero, Charlie Johnson.
Please do not ever hesitate to let me know what I can do to support your fine work.
With deepest gratitude,