Two hundred and thirty five years ago, 56 men signed their own death warrant—the treasonous Declaration of Independence. The signatures on this document have been amplified by the lives, service, and sacrifices of countless men and women who dared to believe “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The realization of this dream was celebrated this morning in the small Wisconsin town of Kaukauna. On the banks of the rushing Fox River, 1,200 people gathered to hear the University of Wisconsin band, to pause for taps and a 21 gun salute, to honor World War II veterans, and to run the rather arbitrary distance of 3.1 miles.
Today I did not run this 5K to try and break a personal record or achieve a fast speed. Today I had the honor of running with my dad.
After the opening patriotic festivities, the run began. Runners passed through the two columns of the University of Wisconsin band. At the beginning of the race runners were pulled forward by the energy of the crowd; most of whom would begin much faster than they would finish.
Dad and I ran at a solid pace. We ran the flat and downhill portions of the course while walking the uphills. As we ran down one quiet street, dad crossed the center line and outside the cones. One of the race officials said to him, “I bet you colored outside the lines.” As we ran down a hill that led into the downtown, the University of Wisconsin band was at the foot of the hill playing the 1812 Overture. We accompanied them with our own da, da, da, da dums.
With the beautiful weather of a Wisconsin summer, the playful banter of the crowd, World War II veterans clapping for us on the Veterans Memorial Bridge, the accompaniment of the band, and the joy of spending a morning with my dad, the run passed quickly. We crossed the finish line together a few seconds over 35 minutes, fast enough for my dad to place third in his age group in his first-ever 5K.