9/9/11 WASHINGTON, D.C. --
Today a lone servicember will set out on a 250-mile journey by foot and cycle to honor the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Capt. Chris Pace, 58th Airlift Squadron instructor pilot, Altus Air Force Base, Okla., is slated to complete a cross fit challenge Sept. 9-11 beginning at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., and ending at Ground Zero in New York City, without stopping to rest.
Following Sept. 11, 2001, American servicemembers around the world were called to duty. Time and dedication, from them and their families, were called into immediate action - all in reaction to a single event that seemed to stop time in America.
Ten years later, in remembrance of a day that changed history, this Air Force captain is dedicating more time to honor those who lost loved ones in the fight brought on by 9/11 events.
"I have to prepare for an approximately 40-hour challenge; they [servicemembers and their families] have to prepare for a lifetime of sacrifices," said Pace.
Pace will bike for approximately 150 miles to Magnolia, N.J., where he will be met by supporters from the New Jersey town who have been campaigning for his cause, and switch to running the last 100 miles to N.Y.C.
His goal is to raise $25,000 for the Disposable Heroes Project, a non-profit organization that supports wounded and fallen warriors and their families.
"I'm not able to see what donations have come through until the end, but the founder of the organization has said we've had a great following," said the captain. "Places along my route have been collecting donations for a while now."
Pace chose Arlington to Ground Zero for a reason - landmarks in America that commemorate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, he said.
"I am starting in Arlington, where our troop are laid to rest from a war that has been a result of the September 11 attacks," said Pace. A reality that resonates with him, as his daily Air Force job is instructing pilots who train to drop supplies to our troops actively engaged overseas.
Just as U.S. Air Force Honor Guard ceremonial guardsmen condition themselves to stand for six to eight straight hours a day to confer honors to servicemembers at Arlington, Pace has had his own ways of conditioning for this mental and physical feat.
"People have been skeptical, but I am comfortable with my Cross fit training," said Pace. "I am going to finish this event. I've been trying to prepare mentally more than anything. Pretty much anybody can get the courage to get through anything... it just takes mental fortitude. The body can take a lot, just overcome the mental blocks."
Preparing mentally for Pace is watching tributes to 9/11 and posting them on his Facebook page for followers to engage on the journey with him. He says that reminds him why he is doing this - troop's sacrifices.
To follow Captain Pace on his "Journey of Freedom," check out the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/JourneyOfFreedom
and follow live on his journey with Twitter at @JournyOfFreedom