To all active and retired members of the U.S. armed forces and their families, I’d like to express my gratitude and respect for your sacrifices and service to our country. I hope you all had a safe and happy Veterans Day.
On a somewhat related note, we’ve just returned from a trip to visit DD #1 in Richmond, Virginia. She moved there for college several years ago and refuses to come home (there’s gratitude for you). Mostly we just hung out and enjoyed being together, but we also headed to D.C. one day to visit the Smithsonian. Along with the Air & Space Museum (mandatory for DD #2) we checked out The Star Spangled Banner exhibit at the American History Museum.
Yes, this is the Star Spangled Banner – the flag that flew over Fort McHenry two hundred years ago as the British burned the White House and threatened Baltimore. If you get a chance to go to Washington sometime, I highly recommend seeing it. You get a good close-up view, and there are other artifacts on display, including the original handwritten text of the poem that became our national anthem.
The next day I ran 11.11 miles as a small tribute to Veterans Day and what it represents. Here’s just a few examples of how the running community and veterans come together:
– Team RWB (Red, White, and Blue) – a nationwide organization of runners who carry the American flag at races and support veterans awareness and community activities.
– The Marine Corps Marathon – one of the most famous running events in the country. I haven’t been to one (yet) but I hear it’s an intense and fun experience, with real Marines putting the medals on the finishers.
– The Bataan Death March – a run in New Mexico honoring the troops who were captured early in WWII and underwent the actual “Death March”. I heard about this event from a woman at Run Woodstock, who said it was her most memorable marathon. “Some vets ran it in crutches,” she said, “and there was one guy carrying another one up a hill.”
This kind of stuff provides me with a real perspective. Trail ultras are not easy, but I run them by choice, and with an intact, healthy body. And I can do them because others put their lives on the line to defend us and our way of life. To all of you who do this: thanks again.