This morning my high-speed and equally motivated Commander and First Sergeant saw fit to drag me and the rest of my co-workers out of bed at around 4AM in order for us to participate in what’s normally called a “fun run”. I’ll admit, I was pissed as shit when I got the word that today was going to be a duty day and even more ready for war when I was informed that I’d have to report to formation at a whopping 5:50AM. What. The. Fuck. I have to A) work on a Saturday, B) report to formation forty-minutes earlier than I do during the week C) run and D) work on a Saturday [yes, I know A and D are repeats, that should give you a real idea of how pissed I was about it]. No matter what the reward was for this mission I was not feeling it. I’d even began planning how I was going to get out of it. That is, until I found out exactly what the run was for.
Again, under the direction of my command, my battle buddies and I participated in the 2012 Fisher House Remembrance Walk, Run and Roll. This annual run was designed to pay homage to my brothers and sisters in arms that paid the ultimate price in our country’s defense. Despite this being a sorrowful run, it turned out to be a great event. The powers that be spared no expense at making this run memorable, enjoyable and an all around great family event. As much as I complain about them I tend to really enjoy “forced fun” events. As I stand in formation, salute the flag, bow my head as the Chaplain delivers the invocation (prayer) and say my own prayer during the playing of taps I can’t help but think about the bravery it takes to be a Soldier. I often find myself getting really upset at ignorant and insensitive civilians that think they have the right to talk shit about the war and speak illy about my comrades and I, but in situations like this, none of that matters. We Soldiers stand to pay respects to those who did not make it back and take a moment to say “thank you!” to the families that supported them. In all seriousness, as much of a pain as it is initially to drag myself out of bed at o’ dark thirty, it’s a great honor to do something like this. Me getting up and running a measly four miles means a great deal to those we came to support and I’m sure if the roles were reversed, the troops whose boots line the run-route would have done the same for us. They would have donated their boots, gathered volunteers, assembled the “biker boys”, bought hundreds of bottles of water and ran with their heads held high to pay homage to those that they left behind. Despite the fact that the run was for a really good cause it was still a bit difficult for some; understandably so.
Many runners (and walkers) pulled to the side and walked very slowly to check and see if the pictures of their fallen battle-buddies could be found amongst the thousands. Some did find their fallen homies and took a moment to snap pictures and say “rest in peace”. Some runners took things a step further and stapled pictures of their fallen Soldiers to their back so that their son/daughter/brother/sister/friend could really be with them. That part was really awesome. Even the kids got involved which was pretty fucking cool. Ignoring the fact that these kids were PT studs (I know damn well I couldn’t run like that when I was eight to ten-years-old so big ups to those little boys and girls! They’ve earned my respect as well as the respect of the other Soldiers that ran along side them), these brave little troops posted pictures of their Soldiers on their bikes, scooters and in one instance, on his little sister’s stroller and on their dog’s tee-shirt. Can we say awesome!? 🙂 On the other hand, there were many Soldiers that were hit a bit harder when they ran past their buddies photos and naturally tears were shed. Don’t worry, there were plenty of supporters to cheer them on and encourage them to “keep up the fight” on their troop’s behalf. This mornings run was full of spirit, motivation, comradery and good feelings all around. Although we gathered for a mournful purpose, there was plenty of high spirit to go around and never was there a sorrowful moment.
In addition to the obvious purpose of this run, there was another good cause being supported at this year’s Remembrance Walk, Run and Roll as well. Proceeds collected from this mornings festivities went to the Tripler Army Medical Center Fisher House. Fisher Houses’ are found all over the world on just about all Army installations (in one capacity or another). As the title suggests, the Fisher Houses are actual homes that include bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, cooking utensils, television, the whole nine. These ‘houses’ are designed to support Soldier’s families when in need and are almost always run by volunteers and funded by donations. To give you an idea of how the system operates, if you have a Soldier that’s not doing so hot medically but their family is feeling the effects of the recession full force, then the Fisher House will cover the cost of flying the Soldier’s family to where he/she is stationed and allow them to stay at the Fisher House as long as they need to in order to be near to support their Soldier. In less pleasant circumstances, Fisher Houses also serve as temporary lodging for families in town for military memorials/funerals that are unable to stay at hotels for whatever reason. Nifty huh? In knowing how this particular Army program is run, I’m sure you can imagine why they need constant support whether it be time, donations or funds to keep them going. If you’d like to support Fisher House, click the link to locate the one nearest to you and get in touch with them to inquire about how to help out. Us troops and our families thank you! 🙂
The pictures featured below are just a couple of snap shots of the boots that lined our run route this morning. I will update and add more images once my unit’s public affairs section get the negatives developed. God bless America!
RIP CSM Kevin Griffin