July 16th, 2015 is a day which will live in infamy for me, personally. A tragedy for sure, a loss for all. Despite the time that has passed, I have recognized the lasting effects of such an event on my life and in my community. A seething rebuke fuels my passion for turning this tragedy into a triumph. My response to the coward who showed up in his rented convertible blazing away at our unarmed heroes, was to peacefully fold up an American flag and bring it across the country to demonstrate unity and love.
Each year after the attack, I have made good on my personal oath to these men – to NEVER FORGET. I do my best with a unique vehicle which represents American ideals of freedom, creativity, and unity. We need not fight one another in this country, rather respect and understand. We need not agree on everything, but we must be united in order to successfully achieve the ideals that we all work toward.
Teamwork and love bring things together, and makes life better. My team of builders, donors, and supporters allow me to achieve the seemingly impossible – driving 500 miles per day, on 5 fuels, to fly the folded Amnicola American Flag from the Golden Gate Bridge.
I created the mission from a place of love and desire to make my community and country better. My mission is to honor these men for 5,000 miles – to give them a voice and a meaningful mission which is in motion. It is a significant, living and moving memorial that takes our Chattanooga community across the United States.
Despite tragedy, we became stronger. Chattanooga Strong! The theme for 2019 is “The drive is still alive”. And I am still alive despite being involved in a rear-ending in the Blazer of Glory after returning home. This type of accident was my biggest fear, but through my hard work and sponsors the life-saving roll cage and rear bumper worked to save my life. The drive is still alive! However, the Blazer of Glory is needing repairs and preparation for the 2019 mission which leaves on September 6th, to be on the bridge on September 11th. This date seems fitting and 100% appropriate.
To become a valuable member of the team all you have to do is like, share, or support our mission! If you feel compelled to donate you may on the fallen5drive.org website as funds are needed to make the mission a success. I want as much support as possible so we may all heal and grow our community and team of Fallen 5 Drive supporters. WE WILL NEVER FORGET!
Joshua David Kapellusch