This is Henry. I'm back on Cape Cod now and am heading to school this morning. I can't wait to tell all my friends and teachers about my incredible trip across the country!
A video about the final part of the journey is on the way, but for today's blog I wanted to share with you what my dad said when we stepped off the plane Tuesday in Anchorage. As we flew from Juneau, I asked him what he was writing. He said he was making notes for a final speech in Anchorage. Here it is for you to read.
My dad is heading back to Anchorage this weekend to attend the International Whaling Commission meeting. We should all check back here for important updates from him and the IFAW team.
Thanks again for all your support during my cross-country trip! Check back soon for more video and inside news from the IWC meeting!
Together we CAN save the whales!
Anchorage Arrival Remarks by Patrick Ramage As drafted aboard the IFAW Whale Plane
Good morning! Thank you to all of you for being here.
Twelve days and almost 5000 miles ago, Henry and I and our pilot Ken Johnson embarked on an incredible journey. The idea was simple. A beautifully painted plane, a pilot, a father and son, a barnstorming, awareness raising tour across the country, a throwback to earlier eras of aviation and whale conservation.
We began with a moving sendoff from family and friends at little airport near where we live in the village of Barnstable on Cape Cod. As we took off and flew over the Cape, we looked down and saw our house.
We traveled to Boston Airport and stood on the tarmac a few short miles from where Paul Revere began his historic ride several centuries ago. Like him, Henry and I were embarked on a journey to warn Americans about a looming threat.
From there we journeyed to the island of Manhattan, and took our message of whale conservation to elected officials there.
We flew on to Washington, DC, the capital of our great country. We went to the Lincoln Memorial and read messages from America's schoolchildren on the steps of that great monument.
We left the East Coast and the shores of the Atlantic to trace the migration of countless generations of Americans who have journeyed West.
We flew deep into the heartland of America, from Mansfield, Ohio to Chicago, Illinois, from Des Moines, Iowa to Liberal, Kansas, yes, Liberal, Kansas!
Winging further westward, we admired the rugged landscape of the American Southwest and touched down in Santa Fe, where Governor Bill Richardson proclaimed "Save the Whales Day" across all New Mexico.
Onward we soared toward the Pacific, catching sight of the Hollywood sign on the hills above Santa Monica.
From there we traveled on to San Francisco, the city by the Bay, and the graceful span of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Leaving San Francisco heading north, we saw the bend of Sacramento River where two humpback whales, a mother and calf, and scientists, researchers and concerned citizens trying to help them, are, even now, struggling to find their way back to the sea.
On we flew, to be touched by the dramatic beauty of coastal Oregon, and, even more beautiful, the faces and voices of children from the Wye Beach Montessori school who sang songs as the town of Newport, Oregon turned out to welcome us.
The next day we left US airspace and landed in Vancouver, British Columbia to be warmly welcomed by IFAW staff and longtime supporters in that gorgeous Canadian city.
And then, finally, Alaska, unfolding beneath our weary eyes like a reward for faithful travelers. Mountain peaks and waterfalls, glaciers inching downward into glassy seas, bald eagles, brown bears and humpback whales, mothers and calves, urging us on our way.
The proud faces of Alaska Natives and newcomers alike eager to hear about our journey and support our important mission.
On every inch of our migration, from sea to shining sea, from the epicenter of Yankee whaling to the host city of the 2007 International Whaling Commission meeting, Henry and I have seen the beauty of America unfold beneath us framed by words inscribed on the wings of our vessel: "IFAW -- A Better World for Animals and People". This is the vision we have carried across the country, and the inspiration we bring to the 59th annual meeting of the IWC.
We have traveled a long way to be here, but we are joined today by guests who have traveled even farther. Skye Bortoli, her sister Kaitlyn and friend Aysha Future are here with us. They have journeyed all the way from Australia, the far side of the world, to attend next week's important meeting. And they have brought with them more than 45,000 signatures on a petition against the resumption of commercial whaling.
Henry and I are honored to arrive here and stand with these young people today. In the course of our own journey we have collected artwork and positive conservation messages from more than 6000 schoolchildren in all 50 United States who share the urgent support expressed for this cause by more than 75 percent of Americans from across the political spectrum.
On their behalf, the message we bring to Anchorage is this: We CAN save these magnificent creatures, the great whales, in the 21st century. And on the eve of the Anchorage meeting of the IWC, we have a generational opportunity and obligation to do so.
On behalf of America's children, and hundreds of millions of adults across the country and around the world, we call on the Governments of Japan, Iceland and Norway to end their commercial whaling and the fraud of scientific whaling. With all possible respect, we call on the Government of Japan to reconsider and withdraw its threat to kill 50 humpback whales later this year -- 50 of the same whales that grace the outside of this plane, the same whales as the mother and calf scientists and citizens in Sacramento are struggling even now to save.
A week from today, government officials from more than 70 countries will convene here in Anchorage to discuss, debate and decide the future of our planet's great whales. As they prepare to do so, we must note that the behavior of the Government of Japan's delegation to the IWC and her whaling fleet on the high seas is unworthy of the good people of Japan. And it is beneath the dignity of so great a nation as Japan to play politics with the Alaska Natives and their subsistence whaling quota.
Throughout our incredible journey, Henry Ramage at age 12 has displayed a passion for this cause rarely seen in this country since the 1970s, when his father was his age. That same passion can be rekindled and burn anew in all of us in 2007. America can do her part to save the creatures to which she and so many other nations around the world owe so much.
As our American journey ends today in Anchorage, where the IWC meeting is about to begin. Henry and I will be forever grateful to and for our pilot Ken Johnson, to our photographer Stewart Cook and videographer Chris Nickless who shared not only this entire journey but also the full measure of their friendship and incredible artistry with us.
We express our heartfelt thanks to Dan Wolf, the President and staff of Cape Air and Fred O'Regan, the President of IFAW, Dr. Joth Singh, and all my colleagues at IFAW, especially Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell, Cassandra Koenen, Michele Duff, Kate Nattrass, Michael Mahoney, Mary McDonough, Kerry Branon, J.C. Bouvier, the staffs of the Dewey Square Group, Peppercom and Westglen Communications, Stacey Marz, Shelley Johnson and so many others who worked so hard to make the realization of this ambitious vision possible.
And finally to my beloved son, Henry Cooper Ramage, who through his poise, courage, grace and persistent good humor has, over the first twelve years of his life and the past twelve days, taught his father how to be a better man: thank you very much.