'50 Capitols in 50 Days' coming to Juneau

October 8, 2012 - - Juneau Empire

An Illinois man who is trying to reach all 50 state Capitol Buildings in 50 days plans to arrive in Juneau Tuesday to recite the Gettysburg Address and take photographs at the Alaska State Capitol at 11 a.m.

Mickey Straub set out from Gettysburg, Pa., the site where President Abraham Lincoln delivered the address in November 1863 after a battle between Union and Confederate troops, on Sept. 4.

Straub has driven more than 11,000 miles so far on what the “50 Capitols in 50 Days” website calls “an historic drive to promote God, Liberty, Unity and Patriotism in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.”

Straub was in Oregon and Washington Monday, traveling to the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Ore., and the Washington State Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Those stops marked his 42nd and 43rd Capitols visited, respectively.

Juneau will be Straub’s 44th.

Seeing 50 Capitols in 50 Days was an idea Straub has been formulating for several years, and is now 80 percent finished with something that has never been attempted before. Not only does he scour each Capitol, he takes an average of 50 pictures showcasing the unique qualities of the Capitol Building and state, and he goes on a treasure hunt to find anything that represents God, Liberty and Lincoln.

Utilizing the latest Apple iPad 3 and iPhone 4S, Straub is also able to post on Facebook, Twitter and his website (http://www.50Capitols.com) a dozen or so pictures and videos for all to see. “This has been an amazing trip!” Straub said recently. “I expected to see some amazing Capitol Buildings, but what I didn’t expect were the experiences and the amazing people that I met who went out of their way to help and encourage.”

Along the way, Straub has been able to recite the Gettysburg Address with the mayor of Gettysburg and other politicians and local citizens, meet two governors and one lieutenant governor, and hang out with legislators, staff, a director of finance and press secretary and many others.

With his stop Monday, day 35, Straub now finds himself seven days ahead of pace. This may mean he will exceed his goal by finishing in 44 days on Oct. 17.

The final Capitol will be in Straub’s home state of Illinois, in the city of Springfield.

On the steps of each Capitol, Straub has recited the Gettysburg Address, as a way to honor American veterans and as a reminder of the main reason Lincoln was asked to make “a few appropriate remarks” at the November 1863 dedication.

“This trip has to be a first,” according to Jim Long, one of Straub’s colleagues, “having been documented daily on Facebook and Twitter, with the help of a floor-mounted iPad 3, along with longer video messages recorded on a dash-mounted GoPro HD camera.”

Straub has been driving an old Lincoln Town Car, except for reaching two states by flight: Hawaii last Wednesday and Thursday, and Alaska on Tuesday.

“I have always felt a strong connection to Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president,” Straub said, “because of his values, his commitment to saving the Union, and because of Lincoln’s connection to my birth state (Pennsylvania) and my adopted state (Illinois).”