A time to celebrate our freedom.

Anaheim Travel Blog

 › entry 29 of 39 › view all entries
What an interesting day.  We started off by going to the new imperial potentate's pageant.  This is basically the induction ceremony for the head-honcho of the Shriners.  They each serve a one-year term and then move on.  So we saw him come in and get Fezzed and listened to his speech.  It sounded like he had good ideas for the Shrine, but I'm not personally up on their politics, so I don't know just how earth-shattering his speech was.  I will say one thing though... I like their "We Are Family" idea, because I do whole-heartedly agree that family is important... however, if I have to hear that song one more time, I'm gonna cry.  I can't take it anymore!  We heard it two whole times in a row plus a few other various times... 

The Shriners are known for their Fezzes and the little tiny cars they drive in the parades, but it's really the charity work that they do that sets them apart.  They have 22 hospitals across the nation that treat children with serious health problems from burns to birth-defects... and it's all completely free of charge to the patients.  It's paid for entirely by charity through the Shrine. 

Every year, they bring a couple of children who have been treated by the Shrine Hospitals to wherever the convention is and tell everyone about their illnesses and their treatments.. and then bring them out on stage to show the good work that the Shrine does. 

This year it was a little girl born with brittle-bone disease and a boy who, when he was 3 years old, had his neck broken in a head-on collision and became disabled.  The little girl is undergoing an experimental treatment to strengthen her bones, and it's working to some decent extent.  They've also implanted titanium rods in her legs to try to help keep them from breaking.  That said, she still has to use a walker to get around.

The young boy is wheelchair-bound.  He can move his arms, but apparently has no control over his fingers.  To give him ability to use his fingers for everyday tasks like writing and using silverware, they implanted tendons to attach his wrists to his fingertips and it allows him to flex his wrists which causes the fingers to grab down.  It's really amazing that this young boy now has capabilities to do things for himself.  It gives him a degree of independence.  And all of it was free to these families.  It's just amazing.

The fireworks show... well.. that was a fizzle.  We were supposed to go down to Angels Stadium to watch a fireworks show... we were waiting on my grandparents to come back down to the lobby when I saw a girl walking through the lobby with an LSU sweatshirt on... so I yelled Go Tigers!.  My uncle teaches law there... Plus it's nice to see a southerner after being gone from the south so long.  We started talking and found out her grandfather is also a  Shriner, but they were going to the Mel Tillis concert and she had nothing to do for the rest of the night, so we invited her along with us for the fireworks show.  Well we get down to Angels stadium and ... it was pitch black.. Nothing going on there at all... so we try to rush back to the hotel to try to catch Disney's fireworks show, which we can see from the top of the parking garage... we got up there about halfway through it... So my 4th of July fireworks show was kind of a bust.

It's our last night in Anaheim and we're heading up to San Jose tomorrow to check out the Winchester House.  It's hard to believe that my vacation is now on a downhill slope!!!
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