Tuesday, July 1, 2008

June into July

Every year, late June is an exciting time for me. Ever since 1987, the 27th of June has been special as Jenny’s and my wedding anniversary. This year, we celebrated the night before with my sister, Joy, in Colorado Springs, and the night of with Jenny’s cousin Chris French and his wife, Gail, in Denver. The fun, the food and the fellowship were greatly appreciated.

The past week has been a great adventure, bringing us from Idaho through Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska. The highlights are listed on the TR Tour button at www.teddyrooseveltshow.com

One feels a tremendous modern day resonance with TR the hunter and the conservationist throughout this range. The National Forests, even one named for Theodore Roosevelt himself, attest to this living legacy. I was most glad to see that, on the particular Saturday that I visited TR’s name sake forest, it was brimming with outdoor enthusiasts, bicyclists and countless white water kayakers. A dozen school buses brought boatloads of adventurers, paddles in hand, thrilled to be guided down the boiling waters of the Poudre River. More so than any other place on our Great 2008 TR Tour, the Roosevelt National Forest evidenced the vigorous life. Here was the use of a great public resource by the public for strenuous outdoor exercise. Again, I think President Roosevelt would have enjoyed seeing such a sight nearly as much as he would have enjoyed risking the rapids himself.

Late June was often an exciting time in TR history as well. On June 27, 1900, Vice-Presidential nominee Theodore Roosevelt wrote to Senator Mark Hanna, the GOP boss, “I am strong as a bull moose and you may use me to the limit.” On June 28, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Isthmian Canal Act, allowing the executive to negotiate with the Columbian government and to secure the rights from the French for the completion of a canal in the Columbian province of Panama. Dynamics inherent in the issue would lead to Panamanian independence and bold American action to see the thing through.

On June 29, 1906, TR signed the Hepburn Act, creating the Interstate Commerce Commission and on the same date in 1906, he signed the Pure Food and Drug Act and legislation creating federal meat inspection. These are hallmarks of TR’s progressive domestic agenda.

Earlier, on June 30, 1898, TR received his battlefield promotion. Colonel Leonard Wood, the original commanding officer of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, was promoted to command of the brigade and the rank of Brigadier General. While lobbying to go to war, TR requested that Wood receive command of the regiment, thinking that he himself would be fit for battle command after a short time in the front. Well, with less than ten days on the ground and at the front, TR got his wish. He was now the commanding officer of the Rough Riders. The next day, he would lead his regiment and various men from others in the famous assault on Kettle Hill and the neighboring San Juan Heights.

So, as the Wiegand clan tours Wind Cave National Park, watching the deer and the antelope and the buffalo play, we give thanks for the safe travel that brings us to TR’s beloved Dakotas.

Of course, the transmission just stopped working and we’re pulled over on the side of beautiful Highway 87 – Iron Mountain Road – South Dakota, just outside the scenic and very helpful Black Hills Playhouse.

Anybody know a good tow company?

All the best from TR Joe and his fellow adventurers.

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