Memorial Day, 82nd Airborne Division and Run for the Wall

Memorial Day, 82nd Airborne Division and Run for the Wall

Memorial Day, 82nd Airborne Division and Run for the Wall

Some days, it just feels like the United States of America is over. We can’t agree on anything. We hate each other. We, on the right and to the center, are all un-woke, racists, bigots, homophobes and Islamophobes. It got really bad during the eight years of President Obama and even worse while President Trump is trying to “Make America Great Again” (trademark, all rights reserved). It’s all good, America. We gave it a pretty good run. Peace out.

But then, something happened.

I was really ready to say heck with it all. Then, I found out there was going to be a family fun run/color run/5k at Ft. Bragg as part of All American Week celebrating the 82nd Airborne Division. All American week is a celebration of everything 82nd Airborne. It commences on Monday morning with a run for about 15,000 soldiers complete with helicopters. Check this out. This video is the 82nd Airborne Division Run in 82 seconds:

Was that not awesome? My son was one of those runners. Anyhoo…back to the fun run. I thought that the fun run might be something my granddaughter would enjoy. Nine years old and full of energy, she would be down for this. I drove over to North Carolina and we got some white t shirts.

Before the run, soldiers and their families were doing the obstacle course set up by the USO and the Carolina Panthers. Different units had sales items to support their Family Readiness Groups. There were empanadas (I love meat pies from just about any culture) and snow cones.

During the 5k family fun run, there were volunteers throwing different color Kool-aid at you. Many people wore white t shirts to get the tie dye effect. The Division Run is on Longstreet. The color run was on Ardennes Street, famous for the Battle of the Bulge from World War II. During the run, the runners passed the Hall of Heroes. There were thousand of soldiers and their families of every race, color and creed. Enjoying each other. I felt such a swell of pride. How many other countries have that kind of melting pot?

And, then:

On Tuesday, I was driving back to Knoxville and stopped for gas at a Sheetz station just outside of Statesville, NC. As I pulled into the pump area, I noticed about 30 or 40 bikers. I saw the RFTW patches and knew that these bikers were part of the annual Memorial Day “Run for the Wall”.

For those unaware, the Run for the Wall began 30 years ago as a way to honor the fallen from Vietnam and request accountability for those unaccounted for from the War. The Wall is the Vietnam Memorial in D.C. Rolling Thunder is the sponsoring organization. The Southern Route riders have traditionally stopped in Knoxville. So, I chatted up a couple of the bikers. Yes, they had stopped in Knoxville and were now on their way to Fayetteville. These bikers were part of the advance group. Several of them told me that to really get a feel for how big the Run for the Wall is, I need to go to Washington D.C. and hear the Rolling Thunder of thousands of bikers. They also said a few miles East I would see about 400 Southern Route riders coming towards me.

And, I did. With a police escort at the front, it was an amazing sight. I rolled down my window and honked and waved like a crazy woman. It was so glorious.

Right then I decided to recommit myself.

I don’t give a fat commie’s backside what they call me. Jingoistic, nationalistic, racist, bigoted, homophobic, Islamophobic, mean-spirited, hateful, you name it. Let it fly. I love this Country. I honor those who fought and fell. I honor those who fight and live. I love those who make this Country and all of our freedoms possible. Not just those who wear a uniform. I love those who go down into the coal mines. I love the skilled trades. Every bloody freaking one of them. Amen.

This Memorial Day I will remember those buried in the East Tennessee State Veterans cemetery less than three miles from my home and in every cemetery in this Republic. I will celebrate the freedom of movement clause that allows me to go where I want when I want and I will use the First Amendment to celebrate the greatest Republic that ever has been.

Before you light the grill and crack open a cold one, remember the fallen and be grateful.

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