I know several men and women who have joined the armed forces, several of whom are family and friends. In their years of service, they have been to places I’ve heard only horrible things about. They put their lives on the line to protect mine, to protect this country. I could never say thank you enough to these strong and brave individuals. These soldiers are the real heroes.
While in college, I met someone who always had the biggest smile on his face. He could light up any room and change your mood without saying a word. We worked at a restaurant together, and everyone loved him. He made work feel like it was my hobby. He never hesitated to extend a helping hand and lift your spirits. He didn’t have bad days. He didn’t sweat the small stuff, at least not on the outside. His name was Brian. I use the word “was” because he has since passed away.
Brian was hurting, but he’d never show it. He was more concerned about making others happy while he was in pain on the inside. While on his tour in Afghanistan, he saw unforgettable things. I often think people, including myself, forget that when soldiers come home, their memories follow them. They might share with others some of the situations they experienced, but we can’t fully comprehend what these soldiers have been through while ensuring our country’s safety.
This is the fourth year I will be running the Fallen Heroes 5K, a race I ran with Brian my first time. Today, I am running for him. I am running for awareness. I am running for every fallen soldier who bottled up the pain and didn’t get the help they needed.
Take the time to hug a soldier today. You never know what these heroes are going through.
In loving memory of Brian C. Elmore