Normally around this time of year my monthly fitness column focuses in the challenges of trying to maintain your exercise program and diet during the holiday season. However, this year the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn took my thoughts a long way from running and eating, it took me back to a nearby place some 11 years ago. In August of 2001 I was on leave between duty stations at my parent’s home in upstate NY. One day my wife and I took our two young boys on a day trip to NYC, a few hours south. It was a beautiful summer day, and we took in all the normal sights, to include World Trade Center. We spent about an hour on the South Tower observation deck, a great view, you could see for miles. A few weeks later I was checking in at my new duty station, and someone came in and told us that an airplane had just crashed into the WTC, huh? I was just there? We all went down to the duty hut and were watching the live news broadcast when the second plane slammed into the South Tower. That was Sept 11, 2001. We all know the national tragedy of that day, and the history changing events that followed with Iraq and Afghanistan. I had more than one nightmare about that day, and specifically the thought of what would have happened if the terrorists had attacked the day my family was there. How could I have saved my family if the planes hit while we were on the roof? My stubborn Marine mindset said that I would have gotten it done, somehow, someway. It was the only way to get the bad dream to end with us surviving. In any case for me to have actually done it would have required an extraordinary physical effort, God’s help and some luck.
Now we have another terrible event that’s rocked our nation. The thought of 20 innocent children being gunned down is beyond comprehension. It gives me the same sick feeling that I got watching people fall from the WTC. How could this happen? What is the fix to prevent this? Better school security? Better mental health screening? Banning certain weapons from all but those who have advanced training and through background checks? Maybe all of the above, I don’t know, that’s all above my pay grade. I do know that if I was in that school that day, and if I didn’t have my own CCW on hand, I would have put every second of physical training that I’ve ever done in my life, into a single life or death focus to get my hands on the shooter. Now I’m not stupid, I’ve see what a 5.56 round can do to a human body. I know that one hit in a vital area, and it wouldn’t matter what level of physical condition I’m in, it’s over for me and anyone else for that matter. However, I like to think that just maybe, because I’m in good condition that I could have weathered it, at least to let me survive till I could do something. Could there ever be a better reason to keep yourself in top condition? To maybe save the life of a innocent child? I think not. In any case have Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.
Tags: Corps Strength