Along the Appalachian Trail, there's a group of military veterans "walking off the war," battling the memories of time deployed overseas but grateful to be physically able to hike, well aware that some of their fellow warriors came back with serious injuries. Others paid the ultimate price.
If you've ever wanted to thank a veteran, Sunday is your chance. Buy the Warrior Hikers a beer and make a toast of gratitude for their service to our country. They will gather at Devil's Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland (near Wintergreen) Sunday afternoon at 5:00. (This is a change from my earlier post.)
Reporter David Kaplan with KDBJ TV-7 caught up with the thru-hikers in Craig County earlier this week, and talked with several about their journey. Check out the website and meet the hikers who have been deployed overseas -- Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Army veterans who set out from Georgia in March to follow the Appalachian Trail north.
Father's Day provides a great opportunity to come out and show appreciation for these men and women who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, the Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia, putting their lives on the line to preserve the freedoms we enjoy here at home.
The Warrior Hikers are our American heroes. The website tells how it began:
In 1948 Earl Shaffer told a friend he was going to “walk off the war” to work out the sights, sounds, and losses of World War II. Four months later, Earl Shaffer became the first person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.I was alerted to the Warrior Hike by a reader of my SWAC Girl blog who writes a blog covering the Appalachian Trail from Rockfish Gap to Reeds Gap -- Rockfish to Reeds. She follows many of the hikers on the trail and has watched the Warrior Hikers since their March departure in Georgia.
Recognizing the physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits of hiking the Appalachian Trail, Warrior Hike has partnered with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to create the Walk Off The War Program. The Walk Off The War Program is designed to support combat veterans transitioning from military service by thru hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Merlot describes her blog as, "Rockfish Gap to Reeds Gap ..... that little piece of 'AT heaven' we all love so much. This is a blog for the dedicated volunteers who maintain the 19.1 miles of white-blazed AT and some blue-blazed side trails as well."
So a tip of the hat to Merlot for the hard work that goes into upkeep for the AT, and for the heads-up about the Warrior Hikers. If you can, please join them at Devil's Backbone Brewing Company.