Day 6 September 11th, Wednesday
Instead of driving across a bridge for 2019, I was sleeping under one. This time in Chattanooga, TN. The Fallen 5 Drive for 2019 had a different mission, making a difference for people in Chattanooga. I put myself in the shoes of people who are homeless, by living in the truck for most of the 10 days during the 2019 mission. In this way I could see what it is like to survive on the streets.
I was lucky compared to most since I had a vehicle to transport me and sleep in. On 9/11 we woke up with a flat rear tire, a slight delay, but we got rolling nonetheless even filling the tire on the side of the freeway to meet Lebron Clark in Ringgold, GA. Somedays even when things are perfect, you will get a flat tire.
Lebron Clark from MTN View Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Ringgold, GA donated $1,000.00 to the mission of helping local people who are homeless. We will certainly use the funds to help cover the costs of the mission and could not do it without his support every year of the Fallen 5 Drive! Thank you Lebron!
In previous years I spent most of my time traveling in the truck at 70 to 80 miles per hour, stopping only for carefully planned fuel stops, bathroom breaks, food, and sleep. In 2016, the first year of the Fallen 5 Drive mission, we stayed at hotels except for a few nights under the stars – which were my favorite. Each year thereafter on the Fallen 5 Drive, more nights were spent in the truck because it embodied the connection to our natural environments and energy of the drive since it had to be made in 5 days as well!
Last year my dog and I made the trip together and I made it an order to sleep in the truck every night on the way out. I succeeded in sleeping in it even at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge on the fifth night! I wanted the ruggedness of the trip to represent a deployment or hardship similar to what forward operating marines or others experience on the battlefield.
September 11th and July 16th are the same dates to me. I pay my respects to each and this year was no different. September 11th sparked my passion for patriotism to protect my community and serve my country. I served for over 4 years overseas during war. I made Chattanooga my home. The terrorist who attacked us caused us to mourn, but actually made us stronger, noogastrong. My mission is to show our solidarity and remind others of the sacrifices the Fallen 5 made for us. I honor that and these men the best way I can.
I flew another flag on the sign of the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center of Amnicoal Hwy on September 11th, 2019. Our American Flag represents the hardships we have overcome together and our unity as Americans. What it means to me is that we work together like the stitches and striping, the stars and the bars. The flag represents our history, both good and bad. We must allow ourselves to react to one another with love and respect at all times, despite intense personal feelings without thought. Democracy is meant to be a logical process of deciding on issues to unite us, not divide us, based on majority voting.
We have shown as Americans and Chattanoogans, that we can be united especially after a tragedy. However, we should not only be united after tragedies, rather all year and over years and this is what I am attempting to demonstrate. To help those with the least is the best I can do.
Additionally, those that demonstrate the core values of what it means to be an American can often be found in public service such as in the military, judicial circuits, and police and fire fighting people. More important than government services is the neighborly or good samaritan acts we can share with one another when we are in need. Learning skills such as CPR or simple wound care can save people’s lives in emergency situations. As a country we should have millions more who are certified. There is a lot we can all be doing to help one another in need.
On this day I chose to feed service people such as cops and firefighters. I chose Krispy Kreme doughnuts of course to hand out to different departments. I first visited the Chattanooga Police Department on Amnicola Hwy since they saved everyone’s lives that day on July 16th, 2015. They were very thankful for the 24 doughnuts that were dropped off! I then visited UTC’s Police Department since they are always vigilant in protecting the future leaders of the community, as they become leaders themselves. My final stop was at the fire department off Main Street across from Slick’s Burgers. They were all gracious.
Joshua David Kapellusch