Sunday, April 26, 2009

Journal Entry - Wed 8/27/08 - Run for the Fallen

Last weekend I was invited to participate in Run for the Fallen. I have been working out a lot lately, and while I am no runner, I figured I could run a mile for a good cause. The concept was simple. Join others across the nation and run in honor of a fallen hero. A group of people actually ran from Ft. Irwin, California to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC. They began their journey on June 14 and finished on August 24.

I don’t recall the actual temperature on the day we ran, but I do know that it was HOT! Not only was it hot, it was humid! My goal was to run the entire mile, but as we headed out, I wondered if I was being realistic. The only time I run is inside the YMCA where there is a nice padded track and a working air conditioner. I typically run distances less than a mile, so I was definitely taking on a challenge.

As I continued, I started thinking about the list of fallen heroes I had pinned to my shirt. I was wearing the names of six fallen Marines…..all who had some sort of tie to my own son, a USMC Sergeant who happens to be deployed.

I became more and more tired, and more and more hot, but as I pondered the lives of these heroes, I realized that my efforts on this hot August day were really not much of a sacrifice. I think about our military everyday. I think about them 24/7. My son is on his third deployment as I run this mile in honor of his friends. I can read through the list of fallen heroes and I can say that I have met a number of their family members….but do I honestly stop and really consider what these did for me in more than just a passing thought? Do I think about how difficult it must be for the family members that must go on without their fallen hero? On most days, the honest answer is no. Most days, I am busy living the American Dream just like everybody else. As I run, I realize that every single man listed on my bib not only endured heat and fatigue far worse than what I was experiencing in this moment, but these men had also made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives! Each one sacrificed for people like me, unknown to them. Each one sacrificed for the good of our nation. Each one had a life here in the USA that they did not have to give up to serve others. Each one was loved and cherished by family and friends....each a brother, sister, son, daughter, wife, husband, parent, friend, and neighbor.

As I continued running, with each step, the thoughts of fatigue were replaced with the excitement of knowing that I was pushing myself beyond my comfort zone to make people more aware of our heroes and their sacrifice. Not only was this effort making others more aware of their sacrifice. It was making ME more aware of their sacrifice!

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