If you were to have walked into almost any gym across the United States yesterday, you probably saw “Murph” posted for the Workout of the Day. Perhaps one of the longest and mentally challenging WODs in , to complete it you must do the following:
Run 1 mile
Run 1 mile
…with a 20 pound weight vest or body armor.
I’ve done the workout three times in my life, though never with the weight vest and it was undoubtedly difficult. It is this difficulty, however, that the brave souls who tackle this workout crave. As the thought goes, suffering during this workout connects us to the suffering of the brave men and women who serve(d) in our Armed Forces. This shared suffering gives us a taste of the hardships that soldiers face and by extension demonstrates the support we have for our troops.
I think we all need challenges in our life. Staring down and conquering challenges make us better people; they bring us closer to greatness. One of my personal heroes, Theodore Roosevelt, once said that greatness was “the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.” If you think “Murph” is that challenge then by all means pursue it and destroy it. I am not sure, however, if this is the kind of “toil and sacrifice” of which Roosevelt spoke. I think that Roosevelt demanded something more than just sweating in a gym for an hour.
Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, there is much more meaningful work that the community can continue to do to show veterans our gratitude for their service.
A great place to start would be visiting the Wounded Warriors Project. An organization dedicated to restoring the vitality of injured veterans, they offer programs to heal minds, repair bodies, keep injured veterans connected, and find employment outside of the armed forces. You can donate or raise funds for the organization and also volunteer in events for injured veterans.
For those looking to help serve veterans here in Philadelphia, check out the Veterans Multi-Service Center.
Getting involved with organizations like the WWP and the VMC is the tip of the iceberg. The next best thing you can do is to educate yourself on the grave situation facing injured veterans as they return home. The following are recent articles highlighting the history and current deplorable state of The Department of Veterans Affairs, the government agency responsible for taking care of injured servicemen and women.
Jon Stewart: America has a Long History of F*cking over Our Veterans
History and Context of an Embattled Department of Veterans Affairs
Everything You Need to Know about The VA-and the Scandals Engulfing It.
Disgusting, isn’t it? Your next step is to contact your local Congressmen and Senator in Washington, D.C and press them for action in resolving the horrendous state of care for our veterans.
If you live in Philadelphia, your representatives serving in the House of Representatives are:
Pennsylvania’s representatives serving in the US Senate are:
A larger question I am currently pondering is how can we all leverage the tremendous energy of the entire community to help resolve the woes facing returning veterans who unfortunate enough to receive “care” at VA hospitals? A daunting question, no doubt. Hopefully, someone arises from the crowd to help direct some meaningful change. In the meantime, please reach out to your elected representatives when you can!