Capitol quest brings Illinois man to Baton Rouge

September 13, 2012 - David Lippman, Reporter - Baton Rouge News 33

BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Some people make trips to see baseball stadiums, some to see national parks. One man is on a different type of pilgrimage, but with a very distinct purpose.

"I've always wanted to go to all 50 capitols," said Mickey Straub. "But then I re-read the Gettysburg Address, and that's when it really hit me. And that's one of the catalysts of the trip."

Straub first considered a trip to each state capitol more than a decade ago. But he said he never thought the timing was right, so he put it off. He bought a  by Text-Enhance">car for the trip a few months ago, but only decided to actually go in the middle of August.

His first stop was Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a site Straub says he has visited several times. He considers President Lincoln's famous speech to be an amazing symbol of our country's values.

"In those 272 words and ten sentences, he was able to first, begin it with anchoring us to our founding principles," said Straub. "Then he warned us that it may not long endure. And then he honored the people that actually made it possible."

"Originally, the trip was primarily about Lincoln," said Straub. "And that's why I'm driving a Lincoln for the trip. I'm from Illinois.

"The trip was about principles and patriotism. It's not really about any one person, it's what he stood for."

But as he checked more states off his list, he realized that his Christian faith was guiding his experiences, and that religion has long influenced our government and leaders.

"I ended up really zeroing in on god, liberty, and Lincoln, in that order, because I soon found out that not all capitols have examples of Lincoln in it," said Straub, "but they all have the two things that he believed in most, which are god and liberty."

Straub says the buildings have all been beautiful, but he has discovered that the connections he has made with strangers along the way have been much more impactful.

"I met so many people, so many angels that keep on showing up on these trips, that I never met before," said Straub. "But they go out of their way, they help, they're accommodating, they're hospitable. They teach me so many things. So I've called all the people, the special people I meet in the capitols, Capitol Angels."

Straub says he hopes that his journey will inspire other people to take action, aside from giving them a renewed sense of patriotism.

"For one thing," said Straub, "if you have a bucket list, you gotta start checking off those things on the bucket list.

"You know, I'm 55 years old," he added. "The (age) between Abraham Lincoln when he delivered the Gettysburg Address and when he was assassinated. And someone asked me, what would possess a 55-year-old guy to do this? Well, maybe something to do with love of country and liberty and god that possessed him to deliver it."

Straub has only been on the road for 10 days, but Louisiana's was the 19th capitol he's seen so far.

To learn more about Straub, or to follow his entire journey, or follow him on Twitter at @50capitols.