VETERAN’S DAY: NOVEMBER 11 This federal holiday “pays tribute to all American veterans–living or dead–but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime”, according to History.com.
It originated as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919, the 1st anniversary of the end of World War I which officially occurred on that date in 1918, at the “11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month”. For this reason, the United States holiday occurs near the same dates as Canada’s Remembrance Day and Britain’s Remembrance Sunday, which also honor soldiers who fought in the “war to end all wars”. It became a national holiday in 1938 and was renamed as Veterans’ Day in 1954 after the Korean War*.
Although Veteran’s Day is geared towards giving thanks to LIVING service members and veterans, the information below introduces you to a group that was founded to help the surviving family members of fallen military. Earned Runs reasoning is that some active duty and retired service personnel, and those who love and wish to honor them, may want to become part of this effort. Especially if there are events scheduled for Veterans Day 2017, which happens to fall on a Saturday when local weekly running meet-ups are held.
Runner’s World recently posted a story about how running helped a young widow, Krista Simpson, to heal from the heartache of losing her U.S. Army staff sergeant husband to an IED-related accident, while he was deployed in Afghanistan in 2013. The story introduces readers to a special running group, formed in Olympia WA by another Army widow, wear blue: run to remember. The wear blue group, the RW story relates, says that it “runs for three reasons: the fallen, the fighting, and the families” and honors “the service and sacrifice of the American military”. You can learn Krista Simpson’s story in the RW article.
The non-profit running community featured in the article explains on it’s website that wear blue: run to remember, acts as a “support network for military members and their families; it bridges the gap between military and civilian communities and it creates a living memorial for our country’s fallen”.
Member athletes come together weekly to “honor the fallen and train for endurance events”, which, according to the History page, include the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series, the Army Ten Miler, and the Marine Corps Marathon. There’s a specific ritual observed at the start of each training run, known as the Circle of Remembrance, which involves calling out the names of those who were killed on that weekend, over the past 13 years
wear blue says it has active chapters at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, WA, Springfield VA/Washington D.C., and Fort Bragg NC. Other meet-up locations can be found across the country, and are listed by region/state.
You can read more about the history of this group, it’s official event activities, programs, and merchandise, and how to become involved. Although there’s a link to enable donations, wear blue states it doesn’t pressure its members to bring in funds; “participants are never asked to raise money to run” **.
The wear blue group indicates it is “all-inclusive”. It doesn’t seem as though runners need a military connection to join.
*MORE VETERANS DAY HISTORY: Observance was changed for several years to a set date in October from 1971 to 1977. President Gerald R Ford signed legislation returning it to the original observance in 1978, preserving the significance of that date. It’s often said there is some confusion of Veterans’ Day with Memorial Day. However, since the name of the May holiday implies it memorializes American military members who lost their lives In service to the country (“memorial”), it should easy to recall that November 11 is a day to pay tribute on to ALL American veterans, especially those living veterans who served honorably in peacetime or war.
**A check of wear blue: run to remember on CharityNavigator.com shows it is not eligible to be rated by this watchdog entity.
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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