It’s Independence Day

Today is July 4th; Independence Day here in the US. A day we take to celebrate our freedom. Freedoms that are afforded to us by our fore fathers. Freedoms that are afforded to us by those who have fought and are still fighting for those rights. Freedoms we often take for granted.

We usually celebrate with friends and family; we have cookouts, go to fireworks, and attend parades.

An elusive picture of “The Man”
Noah, Miss Quinn (who wouldn’t look), Lessa, and Caterina aka Baby Sunshine

This morning “The Man” and I, along with two of our children and four of the grand littles, attended our local community parade. The Dundalk Heritage Parade.

Our local police color guard

This was the 83rd year of the parade.

But do we really stop to remember what the day is about?

As you celebrate today with family and/or friends please take a moment to remember those who fought for you to have the rights you have. Some fought and came home, many have not. Some came home whole, many have not. Some are fighting demons we can’t even imagine. Even though they are “home” they may not really be home. Sadly, there is a good chance they will become a statistic; part of the 22 (there are 22 soldiers who commit suicide each day) 22 too many is an organization that works with athletes to honor those soldiers.

Often when we think of those who fought for this country, we seem to think of those long before our time or may think of our veterans as gray-haired “old men” sitting up at the VFW hall, swapping war stories, and drinking beer. Most of those men are no longer with us, and never talked about what they went through. My own daddy was from that generation. He never talked about what he saw in WWII. The only reference I can ever remember him making was during desert storm, when he said one day that “he had hoped his grand children would never have to know what a war was about”.

There are times we may seem to forget we have young men and women fighting for us today. This day is not just to remember those who have gone long before us, the ones whose names you know from the history books, but to remember those who fought in more recent times and those who fighting today. There are many young men and women today who won’t make it home, because they have paid or will pay the ultimate sacrifice. Please take a moment to say a prayer, send good thoughts, or just say thank you.

Just this past month our own community has lost two of our own.

One young man Army Sgt. Eric Houck, was the brother-in-law of my daughters friend and co-worker. On June 10, 2017 he was KIA in Afghanistan. He was 25 years old and had two babies ages 3 and 5.

You can read more about Eric here.

Some of you may know, my daughter, Amanda and I have been training to run the Marine Corps Marathon-MCM on October 22, 2017. We are, of course going to run for and dedicate our miles to Eric.
The Baltimore Running Festival is the day before MCM on October 21, 2017. I contacted my running friend, who I’ve told you about before, Sid Busch to see if he would run Baltimore in Eric’s honor. Sid (who is now 71), runs a race (sometimes multiples) almost every week in honor of a fallen soldier. Sid, of course, agreed. Sid, will be running the “Baltimoron-a-thon” a 5k and half marathon on the same day. After thinking about it, I talked to Amanda, and we decided we would run (or mostly walk) the Baltimore Half Marathon with Sid on Saturday then run the MCM on Sunday. Since Eric was one of our own we felt we had to honor him in Baltimore too.

This has since turned into a movement of sorts. Many who have found out what we are up to have expressed interest in running or supporting our efforts. Upon hearing of this his wife, Samantha, has decided to run with us too. So, for the past couple of weeks we have been working to bring this together.

Our hope is to have as many runners as possible run or walk in The Baltimore Running Festival in honor of Eric (BRF races are walker friendly) or if you cannot walk or run, please help line the streets of the race route in support of those who are running. BFR as a rule has tremendous crowd support on the streets on race day (some of the best around) let’s make it more meaningful! We want Eric’s family to know he will not be forgotten; that his death fighting for our freedoms was not in vain.

We have designed a special shirt that runners, spectators, or anyone can buy to wear on race day. Proceeds from the shirts will be donated to Eric’s wife and two children ages 3&5, to help with finances as they transition to their new life.

a portion of every shirt sold (minus the cost of the shirt and printing) will be donated to the family

The link below will take you to the website for ordering the shirts.

Any support you can offer will be appreciated. I ask that if can do nothing else please just share this with your friends and family on your social media, FB, Twitter, etc. You can do that by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page. Many of your friends or family may run or know a runner that is running one of these races who might want to run or in some other way support or help us honor Eric and support his family too.

There is no way to significantly thank him or his family for the ultimate sacrifice that he made. Nothing we say or do will ever bring him back, but from experience I know that the families appreciate knowing their husbands, wives, sons, or daughters are remembered.

Please take a moment today to Remember: Freedom Isn’t Free

Until the next time


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Author: Janet Earling-Bencivenni

I am a Lifestyle/Fashion Blogger, SAHGMa, Marathoner, and PowerLifter; sharing my journey of weight loss, fitness, fashion, and finding myself after 50. My hope is to help, encourage, and inspire others along their journey. I am here to tell you being 50 is indeed FIERCE!!!

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