Dan’s last event for a while and his first ever in DC and it might as well be the 9/11 Challenge/Light to honor what that day meant to all of us. Speaking of sentiment he drove to DC with some good North Carolina lumber because he “really likes this log” and I’m like man you gotta be kidding me there’s a log across the street right now that’s almost the same but sometimes the artist likes his own paint brushes and we just gotta embrace it.
No plan survives first contact and it’s similar at GORUCK. 5 classes met on the National Mall and our plan was to step off quickly but on a perfect DC night the spectators needed their fix and so did everyone so there we stayed round robin style till it was time to step off to the Pentagon Memorial, some 3.6 miles away.
This was my first trip to the Memorial why I don’t know and I’m embarrassed to admit that and it’s a little off the beaten path from town but we’ll be there every 9/11 and if you’re in DC especially if you have kids and especially if you don’t and especially if you were alive on 9/11 and especially if you weren’t, just go it’s worth your time and it’s worth our time to remember that day.
And 9/11 was the theme and we talked about sacrifice and pain for pain and the Challenge was almost over till it wasn’t and insert Dan’s big smile and Coupon Roulette. Coupon what? at least a few of you might ask and coupons are redeemable for extra good livin’ immediately and anything with weight does that so let’s line ‘em up and get goin’.
I’m gonna smile forever thinking about that North Carolina timber and I will say it really came in handy and I can respect Dan’s emotional attachment to it he’s probably right he should have all the class numbers engraved on it. Or something.
And eventually all Challenges do really end but sooner if you grab all the coupons and load up Dan’s truck faster so we don’t play the on the bus off the bus game oh how that takes me back to the WWII barracks at Fort Bragg and I’m pretty sure I’m turning into my grandfathers where anything said about anything else takes me back to a different story about this or that so I’ll spare you most of the rest of ‘em, for now anyway.
And 9/11 Events were happening all over America and it brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye to see all the photos come in. I had given real thought to whether doing more GORUCK Events on 9/11 all over America was the right answer and based on what all of us Cadre saw this past weekend I want us to do even more next year and every year for that matter and I want them to be pretty much everywhere. 9/11 isn’t a federal holiday and I don’t think it has to be but I do think it has to be something we don’t forget and to never forget you have to do things not just not read the headlines on 9/11 because I didn’t even see much about 9/11 on that day and I’m sick of the question about Are we safer today than back then. It’s kind of like asking what your life would be like had you taken the other fork in the road it’s impossible to answer because it’s impossible to know.
I believe in the folks who defend America, both at home and abroad, and their mission is vital to our future as a country. And as for everyone else, our job is to remember 9/11 and talk about its legacy and explain to the youth who weren’t there or were too young to remember what it meant. That’s why we’ll be almost everywhere next year on 9/11 you can expect additional dates to launch soon-ish and if I show up to one event all year long it’ll be on 9/11 because I want to be around our people and I want to talk about 9/11 and I want to hear about 9/11 from you.
We all ruck for different reasons and the ones that mean the most to me are when we honor someone or something besides ourselves. It doesn’t matter what you look like or where you’re from it matters what you do and why you do it and Americans I’ve met far and wide amaze me all the time for love of family and their love of America and it’s the great drug at GORUCK to be around people who want to sacrifice for others.
And the flag represents us at our best and there’s so much to unite around even once the tears dry and Sarkus and I had plenty of those out in front of Arlington National Cemetery hours before I took this shot and yet we move on from what Arlington represents because war is a contact sport and it’s part of the job and if any of us was in there we’d want it to not be for nothing and as we sacrifice for others, and for America, their sacrifice lives on in all of our hearts, forever.