landed safely at Des Moines International Airport at
9:15 on Monday night to a group of flag waiving
family, friends, students, and media. Since that time
he has had the opportunity to share his experience on
radio, TV and in the printed media. He has been
surprised (and a bit embarrassed) by the attention.
morning he was asked to the Iowa Senate chamber by
Senate President, Mary Kramer, to be present for
discussion and voting on Senate Resolution #45, below.
He received a standing ovation and was asked to make a
few remarks. His comments were well received and
Senators hoped that they would be shared outside of
the chambers. His comments follow: “It is a great
honor to stand before this assembly today. The last
several months of my life have been filled with this
feeling as I set out in pursuit of a dream while
representing the people of our state. In my mind
there is no greater honor than the representation of
the people and no pursuit more important than the
chasing of a dream.
“Many of the people that I
met during the expedition to Mount Everest found it surprising that an
individual would pursue a goal so different from the environment of his
raising. Many laughed at the idea of an Iowa Mountaineer, casting me in to
the company of the Jamaican Bobsled team or the carnival’s bearded lady. I
had to confess that Iowa is not a land filled with mountain climbers while
explaining that my personality is, in fact, quite representative our state.
“As Iowans, the trait we
share is the dedication to the unrelenting pursuit of our dreams."
“As an example I explained to
my skeptical friends, that our state is more than a thousand miles from any
ocean and offers a class in marine biology to high school students. It is a
place where 10 or 15 or 20 thousand friends gather each summer to ride their
bicycles from one border’s river to the other. It is the insurance capital of
the world, an important communications hub and has a University that provides
a critical backbone to the World Wide Web. We had the first college or
university to offer academic credit for thesis graduate studies in the arts,
which allowed the creation of a creative writing program that today, is widely
considered the finest in the world. That same University was the first in the
union to admit women.
“We have raised astronauts,
movie stars, and a US President. Even the incredible James T. Kirk, the
ultimate dreamer, calls Iowa home. We are the home of the “Field of Dreams”
and have covered bridges that across the world are a symbol of true love.
“The list goes on and on.
And as I look at it now, I can’t help but think that Iowans really are the
luckiest people in the world.
“On Mount Everest I was
challenged by some of the most difficult weather the mountain has suffered in
recorded history. Had I been climbing alone I would have surely turned around
when the temperatures dropped and the winds began to peak, but as I climbed
over the Hillary Step and trudged slowly towards the summit I felt the support
of all of those back home. My feet became a little lighter, my breathing a
bit steadier, and soon enough we reached that summit together.
“So as the 21st century comes
crashing in around us and we face increasingly serious economic and social
challenges let’s not forget our greatest qualities. If we can continue to
dream, and continue to work together, I am certain the summit is just ahead."
“Thank you again for this
great honor.” Charlie.