Remembering Vietnam: One Man’s Incredible Mission
Mike Bowen’s mission for life is being measured mile-by-mile. A 58,282 mile trek to honor those soldiers that never set foot on American soil again after the Vietnam war.
The 65-year old, who was serving in West Germany at the time, came up with incredible and inspirational way to honor not only his friends who died in the Vietnam war but for every soldier who did not return home from combat in the southeast Asian conflict.
The idea came to him in a deeply emotional moment 1982 as he was visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
His pledge? To run one mile for every fallen soldier of the Vietnam war. That means 58,282 miles, the same number of names etched in the Vietnam War Memorial.
Friday, he will run the last mile of his amazing trek, finishing at the exact spot where the idea for this arduous journey formed 31 years earlier.
On Friday, September 20th, 2013, Mr. Bowen will enter Washington D.C. knowing that every mile he has run was his earthly tribute to every soul who perished giving their life for our freedom.
Something Mike remember with every step.
Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another. That’s what we do – we make sure that the guys coming home – whether they’re alive or dead or wounded – will be treated with dignity and respect.” – Mike Bowen
He has participated in over 50 marathons and 26 road races while carrying his POW/MIA flag with him on each mile, earning him the nickname “Flagman.”
Even his rigorous running schedule couldn’t keep the setbacks at bay.
I had a bout with cancer and I just continued to stay in shape the best I could. As I got stronger, I finished my chemo and radiation, I got back in shape, and finished my mission.”
That mission has been unfolding day-by-day for the past 31 years, and it’s finally coming to a close this Friday, which is National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
source: ABC News contributed to this report