The 2,181 mile march honors those who died or were affected by the September 11th tragedy.
The march -- the brainchild of Maj. Jim Alves, the 4th Security Forces Squadron commander at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina -- began July 12 in San Antonio, with individual units selecting 140-mile legs of the journey, which will conclude Sept. 11 in New York City.I was driving to work when I saw flashing lights up ahead, barely crawling towards me. As I and the cars around me slowed, we saw them- airmen in fatigues, carrying packs and a flag walking stoically down the road, a line of cars queuing up behind them, two police cars forming an honor guard around them. It was a sight I was absolutely unprepared for as I rushed to work, the GPS telling me I would make it on time, but only barely.
I raised my hand- we southerners don't generally wave, we toss a hand up in greeting. One of the soldiers, the one closest to me, met my eyes and raised his hand as well- then I was past him.
I cried halfway to work.
I don't use this word lightly, but I feel blessed to have passed these soldiers as they honor the men and women who feel in the September 11th attacks. I wish that every step of the way there could be people honoring them, throwing confetti and cheering as they volunteer to walk in the summer heat, packs on their backs, to a place they could drive to in mere hours.
Instead, they walk to remember and to honor.
I hope I can remember those few moments forever. Right now it's as crystal clear in my mind as a photograph. I don't know why it has affected me the way it has, but it is truly a moment of Grace on a hectic Monday morning.