Our Patriot’s Journey

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Dear Brian and Mary Wheat,

I want to let you know Robert’s memory, honor, and adventure in traveling continues.

My daughter, Stephanie D. N. and her two young sons found your son’s photo at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens during the summer of 2011, and they took it back to their home in Myrtle Beach, SC. You met them in Myrtle Beach the day they placed Robert’s photo and you gave my daughter an additional photo for her to give to me. She hand-delivered Robert’s photo to me at our family Thanksgiving dinner in Tucker, GA and I brought him to my home in Loganville, GA. Robert remained on display in my home for nearly a month, while I was contemplating where and how I wanted to share and honor his memory. I felt the need to duplicate Robert’s card to share in more than one place, and I reproduced 18 additional copies. I shared Robert’s story with some of my 1974 and 1970’s era high school alumni and three classmates asked to help honor your son. I mailed a photo of Robert to: Melodi R.Mc. in Monroe, GA, Susan M.W. in Cooper, TX, and Gaye L.E.P in Jersey, GA. I also sent a photo to another 1974 classmate, Tim S. (a Marine) in Greensboro, GA. These photos of Robert traveled to their destination in Christmas cards.

Christmas with my family is one of my favorite childhood memories. My husband and I would be traveling to Panama City Beach, FL to spend Christmas 2011 with my sister and her husband, their daughter, my brother in law’s parents, and my mother. I felt the need to bring Robert with us to share our family Christmas. Robert stayed with us in an ocean front condo (Ocean Reef Condos) on Panama City Beach and then spent Christmas Day with my family at my sister’s house in Panama City Beach as we celebrated Christmas. Robert toured Panama City with us, looking at the beauty of the beach, looking at the sites, and looking at Christmas decorations and Christmas lights around town. On Christmas Day, I gave my sister’s father in law, Granville S. a few of Robert’s pictures to share. Granville served in World War 2 and knows the pain of losing a son… actually he knows the pain of losing two sons. Granville has proudly taken his photos back to his home in Howell, Michigan for placement and sharing. I left a picture with my brother in law, Jim S., also a veteran, who lives in Panama City Beach.

While in Panama City Beach, my family visited Pier Park and we left a photo of Robert on a Marine memorial marker in the Veteran’s Memorial Park area the day after Christmas. And on the same day, when my husband and I, and my mother, were traveling back home to Loganville, GA, we stopped at the Eufaula Memorial Post 5850 VFW in Eufaula, AL and placed one of Robert’s pictures on the skid plate support of a Marine helicopter on display.

I still have a few of Robert’s pictures to share. One of my favorite places around town is Stone Mountain located in Stone Mountain, GA. When the weather warms up, I plan on taking Robert to the top of the mountain for placement and will send photos. I’m carrying the remaining photos for sharing when I find the right place.

Thank you for allowing me to be part of Robert’s journey. I’ve been honored to carry him with me.

Salute to your son, and to you, and may his memory carry on forever,

KGD, Loganville, GA

PS - Several photos of Robert's Christmas holiday 2011 journey are attached.

This family really embraced having Robert “with them” for Christmas -- such a beautiful gesture! More Christmas in Panama City photos posted here:

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A card was left on the skid plate support of a Marine helicopter at the VFW Memorial Post in Eufaula, AL

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At Ocean Reef Condos, Panama City Beach, FL

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Playing tourist in Panama City Beach:

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at the Beach Shop . . .

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at Ripley’s Believe It or Not . . .

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and at Wonder Works.

Welcome

The family welcomed Robert for their Christmas celebration

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He spent some time “hangin’ ‘round the Christmas tree” at my sister’s house

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A card was also left in the Pier Park Veteran’s Memorial Park in Panama City Beach.  Note: This card has been found -- see the corresponding entry on Page 8 of Our Guestbook.

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