On day 6 I awoke to the sound of a small sea plane flying low and couldn’t help but think of all the WWII aircraft that would have been flying around in the early 1940’s. I love air planes and so this was perfect to wake up to. I also heard seagulls, wind, people, and my loud tarp flapping in the wind as it had every night so far. I peeked out of my tarp and saw it, the Golden Gate Bridge. The 2018 mission was about to be completed. I was excited, proud, sad, and relieved all at once.
I planned to leave my dog Mack in the truck and have him guard it while I completed the mission. I prepared the truck and myself to walk the flag. The only problem was that there was no clear path to hike up. After a short time of walking around looking for a trail I decided that I would have to drive, park, and walk the flag from the main parking area. I had to drive over the bridge, turn around and drive over it again to park. My biggest concern with this was that my dog would jump out of the convertible truck when I was on the bridge and he would be gone when I got back.
Once I found a spot to park I secured Mack and prepared to walk the flag. This part is actually the most emotional part. The time between parking and then walking the flag is euphoric. I had so many emotions at once. I was proud to have completed the grueling 5 day drive, relieved to have arrived despite mechanical issues, honored to sacrifice for the Fallen 5, and sad to be alone on the bridge this year. Finding and choosing a co-pilot is tough, but I also wanted to make this year’s trip alone after my son said he couldn’t come this year. Another thing I needed complete this year’s mission was a volunteer to help me fold the flag. I realized how difficult this may be after hanging the flag. Last year we were on the bridge on September 11th which was really special.
Alone and walking I cried thinking about the loss of the Fallen 5. They were no longer here because of some cowardly “terrorist” attack. One individual caused so much pain and loss, my hope is that my actions combined with others, can overpower this evil act with love and unity. “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”. – Dr. Martin Luther King.
The American flag represents our unity, our heritage, and remembrance for those who have sacrificed to keep this country free by protecting the Constitution and our Bill of Rights. Our freedoms, liberties, and general pursuits to happiness are under extreme attack today. There are those in government who believe the people shall be controlled and subject to governed rule, and then there are those who believe in shared ideals and common bond of love and happiness. The purpose of government is to guarantee and protect inalienable rights for all Americans to pursue happiness. Today it seems as though you are only allowed to be happy if you follow all the laws, regulations, pay all the taxes, don’t cause a problem, and simply go along with everyone else. This is not the American way.
When I fly that flag off the bridge I salute it, hold and feel the moment as the rush of all the busy noises of cars, bikers, walkers, wind, and chaos wash away into a complete silence and for those few moments I feel good – completely solid. In those moments I feel everything coursing through my body. I remember all the war documentaries I have studied, the number men and women who sailed under that bridge and never came home to protect our freedoms. I remember the Fallen 5 and why I am doing this mission. I remember my own sacrifices in the military and my grandfathers before me. I remember my sacrifices all year to make this moment happen. Most important to me I remember my sons who are looking to me for protection and guidance. I am doing for others, what I would have wanted done for me. It is as simple this; we all have a common bond as humans – we were created perfectly by God to do good works for others and to love others just as Jesus loved us. God sent his only son to die on the cross to pay for all of our sins saving us from evil. With God all things are possible and when I run out of 5 physical fuels I run on a sixth fuel – it is God’s love and the American spirit of unity we all share.
My goal is to inspire others to pursue their dreams of happiness by making technology work for us to live better, more free lives. Combining this with love for mankind and respect for one another we can make huge strides in making this world a better place. I want to turn this tragedy into a triumph and I am doing that each year with every mile I drive. All the times I stop and talk to people about the Fallen 5 and the truck – they are humbled and inspired, but they always remember the Fallen 5.
I want to thank all of my sponsors for making the 2018 Fallen 5 Drive a success!
Thank you to our sponsors and contributors for making this mission possible!