This is my favorite time of year. The intense heat of a Florida summer starts to ease, replaced by, if not the crisp air so prevalent in the north, than at least tolerable temps. Pumpkins and cider replace cucumbers and tomatoes at the grocery store and farmer’s markets. Candy corn coffee and caramel apples come back. The steady patter of the football announcers, punctuated by the yell of fans, fills living rooms and sports bars across the country. Halloween is just around the corner and after that, a day to honor those who wear the uniform, a day to give thanks, and a season that brings cheer. But, amidst all these reasons to celebrate is a day to remember and a day to mourn.
9/11. A day that has changed the lives of so many people, both in this country and in others. A day that reminds us why all those little things I mentioned above are so precious. And a day to honor, not only those who died in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field, but all of those who have fought and died since then. That is the mission behind the 9/11 Heroes Run.
The 9/11 Heroes Run is organized by the Travis Manion Foundation, a non-profit started by the family of Travis Manion, a fallen Marine whose story is told in the book Brothers Forever, which I reviewed earlier this year. When told he would be deploying to Iraq again, Travis is reported to have said, “If not me, then who….” After his death, the words became the mantra for Travis’s family and, eventually, for the non-profit that bears his name. Like so much that the Travis Manion Foundation does – their “Character Does Matter” community presentations, their MAP-V veterans mentoring program, their day of service – the 9/11 Heroes Run is designed to empower those who live, honor those who are no longer with us, and encourage those who come next.
The 5K and 1 mile runs, which occur annually in over 50 communities across the country (and, thanks to the wonders of technology, “virtually” as well), started this past weekend and will continue on for the next couple of weeks. You can find the closest race, many of which are still accepting registrations, here or here. If you missed the registration deadline for the one closest to you (I’m a little late in telling you all about it, I know!), you can still support it – giving an online donation or going out and cheering on those who are running.
If running isn’t your thing or, like me, you’re currently sidelined, don’t worry. Later this week, I’ll be covering several other ways you can mark the day.
© 2014, Sarah Maples. All rights reserved.