Holding Patterns

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Greg Mortenson, author of the bestseller “Three Cups of Tea,” and builder of schools for girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan, was our keynote speaker at this year’s FreedomFest in Las Vegas. He is the most honored American in the Middle East, and the Taliban won’t touch him. But his address was postponed because President Barack Obama made an unexpected trip to Las Vegas, keep- ing Mortenson’s plane from landing. Obama came to counter Sharron Angle’s talk at FreedomFest and to give support to a floundering Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

We quickly rescheduled Mortenson’s talk for the next morning, which he gave before an SRO audience of over 2,000 people on the theme, “Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, not Bombs.” His main idea was that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, but to quote an old African saying, “If you educate a girl you can educate a community” and change it for the better. His Central Asian Institute that builds schools for girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan received no federal funds. He got a standing ovation.

After his speech, he was supposed to catch a plane, but again was delayed because Obama was flying out of Vegas at that time. So Mortenson signed books for three hours and told us that he was so impressed with FreedomFest that he would come back next year to speak again. All’s well that ends well.

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