Before I write the backblast for the workout on Saturday, let’s recap a few things:
We were asked in late September if we could provide help for setup and taking down of the Wall That Heals. When I was asked, I answered we’d have men there, but always had a question as to how many.
In typical F3 Fashion, we showed what we are about and served our community selflessly. We had 8 men on Wednesday take their day (many taking the day off) spend 6+ hours putting up the Wall That Heals, a half scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. On Sunday, we had 15 men take 3 or so hours taking down the wall. Both of these opportunities showed what F3 is about as an organization, and I’m so proud to be a part of this region.
When I learned about this opportunity, I realized that we should converge at Camino (just down the hill from the BMX track) for a workout that was more about 3rd F than 1st or even 2nd F. Here’s what we did, but more importantly learned and reflected on. (this BB will mostly focus on 3rd F).
We started with a typical warmup…SSH, Windmills, Merkins, Squats, etc. (The focus of this BB isn’t the 1st F).
Apache said a few words about YHC that I really appreciate.
From there, we moved to the field. Did some four corners and did some partner work. I ended the 1st F portion reading an excerpt from President Reagan’s speech at the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial:
We’re gathered today, just as we have gathered before, to remember those who served, those who fought, and those who — those still missing, and those who gave their last full measure of devotion for our country. We’re gathered at a monument on which the names of our fallen friends and loved ones are engraved, and with crosses instead of diamonds beside them, the names of those whose fate we do not yet know. One of those who fell wrote, shortly before his death, these words: “Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.”
Well, today, Veterans Day, as we do every year, we take that moment to embrace the gentle heroes of Vietnam and of all our wars. We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause.
I’m not speaking provocatively here. Unlike the other wars of this century, of course, there were deep divisions about the wisdom and rightness of the Vietnam war. Both sides spoke with honesty and fervor. And what more can we ask in our democracy? And yet after more than a decade of desperate boat people, after the killing fields of Cambodia, after all that has happened in that unhappy part of the world, who can doubt that the cause for which our men fought was just? It was, after all, however imperfectly pursued, the cause of freedom; and they showed uncommon courage in its service. Perhaps at this late date we can all agree that we’ve learned one lesson: that young Americans must never again be sent to fight and die unless we are prepared to let them win.
But — But — But beyond that, we remember today that all our gentle heroes of Vietnam have given us a lesson in something more: a lesson in living love. Yes, for all of them, those who came back and those who did not, their love for their families lives; their love for their buddies on the battlefields and friends back home lives; their love of their country lives.1
This memorial has become a monument to that living love. The thousands who come to see the names testify to a love that endures. The messages and mementos they leave speak with a whispering voice that passes gently through the surrounding trees and to out across the breast of our peaceful nation: a childhood teddy bear, a photograph of the son or daughter born too late to know his or her father, a battle ribbon, a note — there are so many of these, and all are testimony to our living love for them. And our nation itself is testimony to the love our veterans have had for it and for us. Our liberties, our values, all for which America stands is safe today because brave men and women have been ready to face the fire at freedom’s front. And we thank God for them.
We then moseyed over to the Memorial. While there, I was able to talk to Hawkeye; who told me the incredible story about his brothers on panel W40 that died when their medical chopper crashed. He was supposed to be the medic on that chopper, but had been changed to another one that day. Men, if you need perspective; that’s perspective.
After approximately 20 minutes at the memorial, we moseyed back to COT. When we got to COT, I finished with the last part of Reagan’s speech:
Now before I go, as have so many others, Nancy and I wanted to leave a note at the wall. And if I may read it to you before doing so, we will put this note here before we leave:
Our young friends — yes, young friends, for in our hearts you will always be young, full of the love that is youth, love of life, love of joy, love of country — you fought for your country and for its safety and for the freedom of others with strength and courage. We love you for it. We honor you. And we have faith that, as He does all His sacred children, the Lord will bless you and keep you, the Lord will make His face to shine upon you and give you peace, now and forever more.
And I finished with the following from the Gettysburg address:
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.