Never forget…

The Memorial March team has been phenomenal, the communities have been more than supportive and the sacrifice has been well worth it.

We’re not quite there yet, but these men can sense the end is near.  Some have told me they are ready to go home.  They have families and friends waiting for them and they want to be with them to share their stories of triumph and injury.  They want to hug their children and never let them go.  Some have told me they could go on forever as they just don’t want to stop because that hammers in the fact that our fallen will never return to us.

While it’s true they won’t return to us, what is also true is that we will never forget.  And the communities who learned of the march helped us remember why we’re here.  We’re not only here to honor the 17 fallen and show the families that we will never forget but it’s also to educate the public.  So many who turned out just had no idea what a combat controller or pararesueman was but when they found out they were thankful that people like that exist.  They were thankful that someone would risk their life to save others.

In our world today where so many have no idea of the sacrifice our men and women in uniform make everyday, it is crucial that we spread the word as far and wide as we can.  And especially for our special tactics Airmen who put themselves into harms way on a day-to-day basis.

This march embodies that steadfastness, that determination that gets them through the next 12-mile leg and helps them to carry that 50-pound ruck sack.  It embodies camaraderie and strengthens the bond between this tight-knit community. That bond may be formed by comparing blisters on their feet or  by telling stories of the neat people they’ve met during the march to include the retired Vitetnam vet who said he lost so many friends but no one ever did something like this for them.  That bond holds together the memory of the Memorial March and of the men we are honoring.

The story captured in this clip is truly what this is all about….honor our men who lost their lives too soon,  spread their story and never forget.

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Long Day and Still Going Strong!

I think I fell asleep before I hit post on this…so posting now from last night!

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Evening all.  The teams are still marching strong.  They will march through the night as this is a 24-7 march.  The men we lost didn’t quit or give up and neither will these guys.  The climate can get a little rough if you can imagine carrying 50-lb ruck sacks and wearing military uniforms and boots.  But they didn’t get where they are by quitting when the going gets tough.  In fact, I think that simply motivates them more.  They are driven by their memories of their comrades who lost their lives and by the families they left behind.

And just as these men are marching their hearts out determined to not give up, our support staff who is with them every step of the way ensures that the teams don’t have to.  From medics to supply to logistical support, they keep things moving smoothly.  I was watching the supply folks today, who follow the teams with trucks full of water, gatorade and medical supplies, and they were doing a great job running back and forth to ensure the teams had water and cold towels for the back of their necks…not to mention sunblock.  It’s a bit hot and sunny here in Texas this week and after about 24 miles of open skies with no shade, the teams were feeling it!  And then I think of the blisters I get just from running a few miles.  The blisters after walking 12+ miles in boots with a 50-lb weight on my back, pretty nasty critters!

So, think about these guys walking the lonely streets tonight in Texas.  Think about the men they are honoring and remember their sacrifice, their ultimate sacrifice.