Happy cyber Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This post is picture heavy, so be forewarned!
Thursday ( 11/10) dawned and it was a beautiful, sunny day! We all hopped on the bus and rode into Tampa and we formed up near MacDill AFB. It was the first time since we began our trek on 11/7 that we had formed up as an entire team (Day Team and Night Team). It was great to see everyone again and to catch up! We formed up and then ran onto Base. Every year, this is one of the most amazing experiences. When we arrived at the SOF Memorial we found our seats and the ceremony began. I personally was seated behind a gentleman who had had a significant portion of his body burned. In fact, his guest was holding an umbrella over him as I daresay the sunlight was not healthy for his burns. The head of the SOF Veterans group came to the podium, started the ceremony, and asked all who were able to stand for the National Anthem. Many of the guests at this event were seriously wounded, for many walking was a task that seemed too difficult, but, I tell you this… every SINGLE person there stood for the National Anthem. All of the injured military then saluted as the National Anthem was played. Even thinking about this now, many weeks after seeing it makes me emotional. Please remember the next time someone plays the National Anthem, men and women who have given their time and their body for this Nation still fight today to be able to stand when asked to honor it.
After the National Anthem and the prayer, General Clark gave a very moving speech regarding Veteran’s Day. These men and women (and their families) have given and dedicated so much for our continuing freedom. Please remember to thank a Veteran when you see one, trust me, the power of a simple thank you is amazingly profound. After a moving ceremony we then went for a team picture and a presentation for Bill and Laird. The team at USSOCOM had created this caricature of the OOV team running. It was truly amazing… Bill and Laird were very moved and touched by it.
We then headed to the hotel to change and then head to the Yuengling Brewery for a social! We were able to walk over from our hotel (convenient, yes?). When we arrived, as they had before, the folks at Yuengling had gone all out for us! We were able to enjoy all the varieties of their beer, enjoy each other’s company, and have some great food! Next, we celebrated the birthday of the Marine Corps with all the Marines present. For me as an outsider, that is always humbling. After enjoying some cake and some more time as a team, we had a tour of the brewery (pretty cool, not going to lie!) and then we headed back to the hotel and the Tiki Hut! For those of you who haven’t read my posts from last year, the Tiki Hut is the customary event on the night of 11/10 for us every year. We gather as a group, share stories of the run, of family, of whatever is important to us. We toast those we have lost from the year past and we remember the reason that we run. For us, this evening is just as important as the miles logged. This evening is our chance to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice as a group. We honor them all week individually, but doing it as a group is different. After we honor and remember, we then enjoy the fellowship of our fellow runners. This year, we were all quite exhausted after the run, so I think by 10:30 we were all out for the count! I will try to post this afternoon about Day 5! See below for pics of Day 4! God Bless our Military for the freedoms they continue to fight for!
Until We Meet Again.
|The Team at SOCOM after the run.|
|Marines at Yuengling celebrating their birthday! Oorah!|
|Tiki Hut! Yes, we make T-Shirts! You don’t make a T-shirt to go to your bar?|
|Me and my friend Gavin! He just loves pics… wait, come to think of it, most of the guys aren’t big on having their picture taken… apparently they are too nice to tell me no.|
|Night Team – Tiki Hut!|
|Sgt. Daniels. He and the other police officers drove to Florida at 6 MPH and kept us safe, so THANK YOU STEVE!!!|
|Laird and I at the Tiki Hut! Laird is the Gentle Giant of the group!|
|Ben and Keith from Eagle Rock! They have one of the hardest jobs, driving the bus from Atlanta to Tampa! Thanks guys!|
|Me & Joe Kap! We started running the OOV run the same year (2007) and have been friends since. Great guy and awesome Ranger!|
|Me & Matt at the Tiki Hut! He and the other police officers drove to Florida at 6 MPH and kept us safe, so THANK YOU MATT!!!|
|Me and Fields at the Tiki Hut! Poor guy got stuck carrying the Guide On every time we did a PR run… great sport and awesome runner though!|
|Me and Tom at the Tiki Hut! This guy was a running MACHINE!|
|Joe Kap, me, Copeland, Steve and Randy Kap at the Tiki Hut! Fun guys!|
|Poor Lil T was kidnapped and strapped to the fan! Where he will end up next is anyone’s guess.|
|The group at the Tiki Hut… every year I try for a group pic and am told no… one year… 🙂|