Thanks for your support and thoughts and prayers.
The trip back east was great. I had the honor of getting to speak at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Windham, New York. In both places, I spoke about my book and about the Kansas experience at the time of Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War.
The Road to Valhalla screened in Burlington, New Jersey, Manalapan (Monmouth County) New Jersey and Windham, New York. Response and reaction was very positive. So many highlights and wonderful questions. I tried to think of a few favorite comments to share. Sitting at the back of the theater with our friend Jed Marum, I just kept thinking how kind it was for these folks from NJ/PA/NY to give us the time and interest. When our screening at Manalapan ended, one of the viewers said "how proud we should be, back in Kansas, at a unique and powerful legacy." I thought about Deb Bisel's comment at the end, when she states that Kansans are the "quintessential Americans." It's a bold statement, as Deb says, but it's what she feels. I think it's a compelling argument and bold statements do matter especially if they come from the heart. Our viewers were moved by that and by the role Kansas and Missouri played in the bigger struggle. At Windham, New York, two men from Providence, Rhode Island, who are members of the Sons of Union Veterans and members of the Providence Brigade Band, came up when the film ended and with tears in their eyes said, "you remembered the boys in blue. We've read that poem at so many memorial day and veterans day gatherings. You remembered them. Thank God. May they never be forgotten. You remembered both sides and paid them a wonderful tribute."
Of course, that moved me so much. I appreciate any words of thanks but to have people from Rhode Island or New York or New Jersey, say they loved the film, or thanks to the veterans or bless our efforts. I can't say thanks enough but please know that every word of encouragement, every good thought, every prayer has an effect on me personally. It makes me take the next step. It keeps us all from giving up on work we find important and gratifying.
Lastly, we are continuing to screen the film as we wait on word from PBS National. It will air somewhere, and hopefully that will be determined soon, but in the meantime. Western Kansas, Colorado and now, California all look to be places we'll screen in the next few months. If you know of places, classrooms, libraries, theaters that will screen it, please contact me. If you know of places that we can sell our films, likewise.
Dr. Craig Miner convinced me once upon a time that we have an amazing story. That people of the plains are second to none. I'll take that with me always. I hope you will too.