Sometimes we still say it with a whisper. Things like, “terrorist” or “infidelity” or “hemorrhoids….” A few weeks ago I noticed two old biddies on the metro look at a young lady with a cute, freshly cropped hairdo and whisper… “lesbiaaaan”…..
I will admit in my navigationally challenged and logistically naive condition I would say “West Virginia” in a whisper. As if somehow I am aligning myself with toothless, mindless, gun-toting, war-mongering inbred relics from a James Dickey novel.
In fact, West Virginia is beautiful. The drive was beautiful, the run through a pristine college campus was beautiful, the farmers market on the cobblestone streets lined with Civil War reminders was beautiful. The local coffee shop was filled with working college students reaching responsible adulthood and burned out hippies trying to run away from it.
I kept looking for the “Bernie Sanders Slept Here” sign.
My little family came with me on the adventure and my tiny tot was rewarded with runners dressed as her favorite My Little Ponies. I’m guessing their attire was more creepy than cute but my kid’s future will be corrupt enough without me shielding her from the life sized incarnation of her favorite cartoons.
Ohio was a very significant run. It was a 1 day run for those killed in action.
Death is a difficult topic to write about. It’s part of the military experience – it’s part of our human experience. Knowing this, the Army created a Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program. One of the five components is Spiritual Fitness. I call it Spiritual Muscle but it’s the same thing. Athletes lift, run, squat to build muscle so they can jump, climb, run fast. Soldiers build muscle by hitting the gym, the nearest Crossfit group, through military training like Ranger School and Airborne School. They do it to be ready for whatever comes – conditioning hikes, simulated training, war. Spiritual muscle is reading the bible, praying, getting to know your maker so when times get tough – and they will – you have the strength to get through it.
In my race packet I received a KIA bracelet representing SGT Daniel McCall. He died from an IED blast in Iraq in 2007. His wife is a student at OSU.
I didn’t know Daniel or his wife but I prayed for healing and protection for her as she continues with her life. I could write a lot about the significance of past cadets who have died – the influence they had on me as cadets and the influence their memory still has to guide and inspire. But some things are better left unsaid. Some things are sacred. I thought of them on the run, their legacies, the importance of family and friends, of supporting each other. I said a prayer for them. I sent their names into the wind in a whisper.