Archive for September, 2012

Illinois and Heartache……

September 27, 2012

In the center of this state lies the community of Decatur. A large, bustling town that is surrounded by corn and soybean fields as so many communities are. It was also the home to Jesse Tilton, a medic in the Army who died in 2010 and whose flag has yet to be placed. His mother Julie was standing along the road at the end of my run today. She was there for him, but also for someone else she did not know. Army Specialist Julian Berisford was 25 years old when he died. His young wife and daughter Mya, carry on with their daily ritual of a life without Julian. Julie Tilton handles his flag, looks at the yellow ribbon before placing it in the ground. It is quiet. I do not know how much time I have left here in this world but she tells me that there is a place in heaven for me. A place next to her son and so many others. Says I have earned it.

History is all around as I move along. Clinton, IL and the American Legion hall have a framed tablecloth from the dinner provided to dignitaries on the USS Missouri the day of the Japanese surrender. It is stained with coffee spilled by General Douglas McCarthur. Fact and was acquired by a young Navy man from Clinton, IL who gave the mess hall attendant a month of his pay for the tablecloth. Fact.

Quote of the day: Your a hobo with a website……..Middle School Student

A Special Day………….

September 12, 2012

Four days ago the question arose from a little four year old….”Why is Freedom so important to you?”

I have spent most of today trying to answer that question. It is 9/11/12 the 11th anniversary of that tragic day in our history. I look at the names on each flag and the yellow ribbon. I try to find a connection between them. and those we lost on that day in New York. I come to the conclusion that it is the spirit of we Americans.
A spirit that we inherited. There is a core value in us all, one that is indisputable. I may be naive in saying this but I believe we all genuinely care for each other. Remembering the pictures of firefighters amidst the rubble, of people rushing to the aid of those in the towers and those on the ground. We respond without hesitating. Lives are sacrificed to save others.
I was in a gymnasium in Decorah, IA on this 11th day of September. A gym filled with 600 students. In unison they raised their right hands. Their first finger and little fingers rose to signify “11” and the repeated these words in a stunning tribute…

We Care. We Believe. We are Generous.We Respect. We Sacrifice. We are Honest. We are Thankful. We Love. We Listen. We Learn. 

We Remember……………………………..

Sunday Morning and Soren

September 3, 2012

Gordon, WI is a tiny town just off US 53. My day ended here yesterday afternoon and there is a certain amount of joy when I end at a gas station and find chocolate milk in great abundance. It is like Christmas morning and if there is ice cream, well lets just say I can embarass myself. It was here in Gordon that my day began today, Sunday September 2. A car pulled up alongside and I was asked if I would mind some company for a few miles. I always like company. I have someone to talk to instead of my own reflection in the mirror. Steve, Mike and Yvonne join me for a lengthy stretch. I learn that Mike and Yvonne are new parents, that their six month old son, Soren is along for the ride. I was struck by their spontaneous decision to “lets just go” when pondering whether or not to make the hour and a half drive to run with me. Ahhh yes, today people. Thats what I like, was my first thought. We talked and the miles slip by. The road begins to undulate beneath us, rising slightly and then falling. The oak and maples whisper to us. Steve tells me of how he felt he was a great deer hunter. That they could not hear him sneak up but he could never figure out why he did not see anything. It was then that he realized his hearing aid was bad…go figure. It reminded me of my Uncle “Turtle” suffering from Parkinsons, he once shot a monstrous buck by, in his words, “I pulled the trigger between shakes”. 

Traffic is virtually non-existent this early. As we place flags Yvonne makes a remark of wanting a picture taken with Soren so he can one day see what this day was like. When Mom and Dad explain what they were doing on a Sunday morning on this stretch of peacefulness. It is ironic. This small baby boy, blonde hair and eyes of wonder in a world that he has inherited from generations before. Names on flags. Character and integrity and heroism that have provided him a safer world to live in. Their generation and time now gone yet not forgotten and his, just beginning. Like Soren they were full of wonder and amazement and needs so simple, carried dreams that pulled them through each day. Soren will harbor dreams just like them. A product of two great people, Soren will add richness to the world, of that, I am sure. It is like this on the road. You have a brief encounter, a speeding moment in time that pauses and you interact and then say goodbye but something goes with you….. So it is today, on US 53……………….