September 6th, 2019. Day 1.
The 2019 Fallen 5 Drive began with an early morning 6:30 AM run across Walnut Street Bridge and across Veteran’s Bridge. The two dogs and I stretched out, then I did some pushups and leg lifts. My goal is to honor the men with as many laps as I can run, and think about what they sacrificed while doing so. PT is a big part of daily life in the military and I know getting myself into shape will be a good thing for me as well. I want to take these 10 days to improve my community and myself.
My goal this year for the Fallen 5 Drive is to honor these men by doing good things for the community through my actions. Feeding and helping the poorest in our community is important because it is how we Americans should be taking care of one another. Serving your country can begin by helping people right in your own back yard.
Once I reorganized the truck after getting supplies, I headed to the Chattanooga National Cemetery to visit the graves of the SSGT David Wyatt and PO Randall Smith. It was a very peaceful day to observe the tempo of the city. The cemetery is very calm and it was an honor to spend time resting with some of our national heroes.
Once I finished at the cemetery I drove to the mural near the cemetery. After taking a picture of the truck next the mural I headed to the river park to let the dogs swim and check on the memorial in the river park. As far as I could see there was no progress on the site unless I was missing something. One of my goals is to check in on Fallen 5 memorial sites to ensure progress is being made and that they are kept up.
I begin the Fallen 5 Drive the same way every year. I visit the initial shooting site and eat a meal with the Fallen 5 at the Lee Hwy memorial. This year I folded up a flag with 2 volunteers for the Navy. It was special teaching these young men about the heritage they are about to embrace. Once I arrived at the Riverpark, I dipped the tires back in the Tennessee River and put water on the flag.
Now that the drive began, my next mission was to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pass out waters. I made about 40 sandwiches and handed out about 60 water bottles. I simply drive around and see who needs food or water. Since I have been helping some people who are homeless, I have a good idea of where to start and where I can make a large impact. One of the highest concentration of people with needs is outside of the Community Kitchen. We often deliver most of the supplies here after driving around for a few hours. After a long day the dogs and I slept in the truck off Lookout Street.
Joshua David Kapellusch
The departure date was very welcomed after a few mechanical delays with the ’72 Chevy set us back. After getting everything fixed up and tested I set to leave on the 30th of July. Some work-related tasks needed to be completed as well as work on the truck. So eventually I left with my dog Mack on the 2nd of August in the rain. We ate supper with the Fallen 5 as I do every year. I take this time to really feel the emotion of the event 3 years ago.
The entire trip is focused on the Fallen 5. I constantly ask myself if I am doing enough, in the right way, and to the right people. I do know that I perform to my absolute best in this honorable mission. I am the keeper of the Fallen 5 Drive flag from the Amnicola shooting site. My duty is to fly it from the Goldgen Gate Bridge for them. So in reality, I just need to get that flag there on that bridge – everything else is part of the story. People love stories. I tell the story of the Fallen 5 everywhere I go.
I begin the drive each year by starting the Fallen 5 Drive from the memorial site off Lee Hwy in Chattanooga. I then take the path of the shooter to the Naval Station and Marine Reserve Center. On this part of the drive it has the most meaning, to take up a new mission for good and carry their honor. It is my way of fighting the pain of loss and the fear of hateful acts. We must show love and unity, not hate and division. The Blazer of Glory carries this message.
After dipping my tires in the Tennessee River and putting water on the American flag I set out for the 5,000 mile mission! I departed sometime around 5:00 pm. I always drive in Chattanooga for a bit for encouragement then set out for the 5,000 mile challenge ahead!
At about 1:00 pm I settled into the Blazer of Glory for the night with Mack my dog. I intent on sleeping in the truck for the entire trip as an added level of excitement! Stay tuned for more!
Thank you to our sponsors and contributors for making this mission possible!
Mtn View Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Ringgold, GA
Grace Frank Group in Chattanooga, TN
Off-Grid Living & Design – Tiny Homes in Wildwood, GA
Day 1, 2018
Follow along for the 2018 drive for the Fallen 5.
3 years ago today 5 men were gunned down by a cowardly so-called terrorist. Our Fallen 5 set out on this day to serve their country as they had done many times before not knowing it would be their last. Usually war is prepared for and death is sometimes anticipated as you go to war. This was different in that these men were defenseless and were not deployed, simply working hard training at home here in Chattanooga.
Terrorism is the weapon of cowards. It is not even gorilla warfare, it is the lowest form of attack conceived by man. A disgruntled individual or individuals who form groups cannot have honor, nor command respect. To be hidden, shadowy, and seek only opportunities that present the least amount defense is weak at best.
The best way to fight terrorism is with love and unity. If we begin to accept and tolerate people who are different from us, we can being to make progress. We must be ever vigilant from threats in our communities, especially with our children. Terrorism is taking on new forms in ways of school shooting, even vehicular attacks. The same old problems persist, an extreme rage of anger with acts of violence toward masses of innocent people. If you see something say something, talk to someone and intervene. Even if it is something small.
Lets never forget the Fallen 5 by keeping them in our memories. Pray for their families and loved one. Pray for me as I make this memorable 5,000 mile trip.