I didn’t make it to the Downtown Market this past Saturday. I woke up at 5:45 (normal) to take Josh to Ft. Campbell for a run that his JROTC Sgt. had told him about. We arrived at 6:20am, giving us plenty of time to register and wait for the run to start at 7:00. I parked a ways away and since Josh had forgotten his phone I decided to walk with him down the hill. Once there, Josh found his JROTC friends and I found a good spot to observe everything from. I quickly realized that this run was for FALLEN SOLDIERS. A lady announced from a speakerphone that there was a memorial of 366 flags set up to her right in honor of the soldiers that have lost their lives since 9/11. I found a spot to sit down. Observing people is like a hobby of mine, but usually I'm "with" someone else (mostly my 2 yr old) and I just can't pay attention to what is out of my sphere, at least not carefully. I observed for a good 30 minutes before the announcer stated that the run would begin at 8am. What? That was an hour away! Josh had clearly been misinformed. I observed a group of soldiers, families, and other individuals and groups. I thought about why they were coming out to run today. Most had running bibs pinned to the backs of their shirts that proclaimed who they were running in honor of. Some had T-shirts that said specific names or divisions. Many had written on their papers “In honor of All of our Fallen Soldiers". I thought about one person that I knew personally whose helicopter went down in the Philippines not long after 9/11 (there were nine other soldiers aboard that flight. His name was Foshee. I never heard anyone call him Jeremy. He lived with one of Will’s closest military friends (and his wife--the Nickos) for a least a year, so we saw him quite a bit during that time. He was a good guy, he told a lot of army stories, and he liked being a soldier. He died at age 25. I figured it was never too late to run in honor of someone who I knew and who had lost his life while serving our country. So I got a bib, wrote his name on it, asked the quiet girl pushing her fingers into her phone if she would pin it on (she did), and waited like everyone else. I talked to the girl for awhile. Her husband was deployed. She was planning on walking the four mile. I got in line with the walkers, but when I started going I felt that it really wasn’t enough memorial for the soldier that gave their LIVES for our country (and Josh was running one mile, not four, so I knew I was only going a mile total). And along the same note, what about all of the soldiers that were out there right now fighting for our country in another place? 12 month deployments? Leaving their families behind? What of their sacrifices? What of their spouses and children’s sacrifices left behind? All I had to do was go a mile...it suddenly seemed almost trivial. So I ran the way back when I broke out of the walker crowd and walked up the steep hill with Josh while we talked about what the run represented. It was good to spend time with him too. I told him about Foshee.
Reflective moments in life sure can come when we least expect them too!