Sea2Sea Newsletter Vol 1 Issue 3

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The end of the US leg of the 2012 Sea2Sea Challenge is fast approaching and the riders are within striking distance of completing the journey from the west coast to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Sitting on the seat of a bicycle that has carried me more than 4200 miles, across a continent and so much further than imagined has given me a perspective I had not anticipated. This passage has helped me reach beyond myself and out to the hearts of Americans and British alike.

Ending such an odyssey is a bittersweet experience – amazing for the enthusiasm and support we have received from so many along the way; terrible for such a meaningful undertaking to come to a conclusion at all; bittersweet describes it completely.

The Remembrance Ceremonies have ranged in attendance from merely three of us on occasion to well over 200 on others. Throughout the journey, one prominent fact shone through all the weather, all of the miles, the mountains, the valleys, the long straight-aways and the curvy roads too: Americans love their country and the veterans who have defended it!

To paraphrase Alexis de Tocqueville from his book Democracy in America, Liberty cannot be established without morality, or morality without faith. We have found people, or rather people have found us, whose faith remains the bedrock of their lives and who consistently choose hope over despair as a compass for the future.

The individuals we encountered across the United States are the heroes of today. We have met Cub Scout Mothers who are helping the orphans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to establish normalcy in their lives. We have also met police officers putting on a charity event for a mother whose son was seriously wounded in Afghanistan. There are many words to describe the actions of these caring people, none of which fully capture the devotion each shows for one another or the feeling that comes from being witness to their innumerable acts of caring and kindness.

 

These people serve each other with love and charity, pursuing nothing for themselves. Instead they seek only to relieve the burdens of others. Early on in our journey, we met a young woman, age 19, who was an Afghan war widow, named Hope. She and her husband, Riley had been married for only five months when she received the news of his death. This brave woman embodied all of the qualities we found so prevalent among those who supported us throughout our travels; the preacher who served during the Vietnam era who prayed for us every night was another who made such a difference to our experience. Each of these individuals and all of them too brought home one great shining idea: being an American cuts across all ages and ethnicities, all differences a mind can think of; being an American is a transcendent experience and being reminded of this great shining idea was what we found so profoundly rewarding as it came home to us again and again many times along the way.

Now it is time to go back to where we started on April 16 to complete the circle and pay homage to the best allies that we, as Americans, have: the British people, for they too have suffered travesties through these wars.

My pledge to the people that support our cause is to continue to look for new ways to “Give Back To Those Who Serve” until we transform the awareness that we have raised during our Sea2Sea 2012 Cycling Challenge to actions that will make a difference to those who have secured those precious freedoms that we enjoyed at such a very high price.
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