Luzerne County native Mickey Straub has something he wants to share with the 50 states: His patriotism.
Beginning today, Straub, 55, who now lives in Chicago, plans to venture to each state capitol on a "50 Capitols in 50 Days" cross-country trip. At each stop he will recite the Gettysburg Address while honoring military veterans.
"I'm doing it for personal and patriotic reasons," Straub said in a recent interview. "If you read the Gettysburg Address today, which is an amazing and timeless document, it applies to the world today."
Straub, who lived in Wilkes-Barre and Kingston until the age of 22, says his patriotism springs from his pride in being from the Keystone State – where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Gettysburg Address was delivered.
Straub said his patriotism also comes from working as an investigator for the Department of Defense.
The Gettysburg Address was a speech given by the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, on November 19, 1863. Lincoln delivered the speech during the Civil War at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg.
Lincoln was all about freedom, saving the union and equality, Straub said, which can be applied to today's standards.
"Lincoln was not about himself like so many other politicians," Straub said. "(The Gettysburg Address) is just as relevant today as it was (in 1863). It's the core of American fabric."
Straub hopes Americans can recommit to Lincoln's principals, including God and liberty.
The youngest of six children born to Al and Regina (Kasaczun) Straub, originally of Sugar Notch and Ashley, he owns Sales Activity Management, Inc., in Chicago and Philadelphia.
He attended Bishop O'Reilly High School and majored in criminology with a minor in political science at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Straub and his wife of 27 years, Charmaine, have a daughter, Alysa, 17.
During his 50-day trip, Straub plans to explore each state capitol, and then recite the Gettysburg Address outside each building. His aim is to get at least 16 people to recite the address with him at each stop.
He'll begin the journey, fittingly, in Gettysburg, then go on to Harrisburg. The trip will conclude in Springfield, Ill. Straub said he hopes to fly only to Alaska and Hawaii.
Straub will be driving a Lincoln Town Car on the trip, – which seemed appropriate, he said.
The Gettysburg Address, Straub said, isn't filled with "I's" like most of the speeches politicians give today, but full of "our's," "us's" and "we's," and refers to veterans a number of times in their honor.
Straub, a former Democrat turned Republican, also runs a nonprofit organization, Proud to be Republican. He founded the organization in 2008, and says he is dedicated to helping Republicans get elected.
Straub says the 50-day trip will fulfill his patriotic and personal motivations, and allow him to check the trek off his "bucket list."
"I want to minimize the regrets in my life and I knew I would regret this if I didn't do it," Straub said. "Hopefully, we (as Americans) can work together to stay together and we can do that by reclaiming America."