Recently, Clint and I packed up our training gear and headed west to White Sands, NM. There we met up with my parents and my Aunt and Uncle. We were on a mission… to hike 15 miles in honor of my grandfather, William A. Hauser- Bataan Survivor and Prisoner of War (POW) during WWII. You can read more about him here: http://www.proviso.k12.il.us/Bataan%20web/Hauser.htm
Here, with dreams of an education… before, early 20s. My dad looks almost identical- both very handsome men!
And here he is during the war as a POW- less than 100 lbs.
I, unfortunately, never had the opportunity to meet him or listen to his stories. From what I gather from my dad and aunt, he had plenty of them… and mostly gut wrenching. Grandpa had passed a year before I was born, cancer ultimately sent him to our heavenly father. Even though I never met him, I definitely feel connected- that his stories might live on through us. That my father and my brother served, are serving, this country because of the sacrifices my grandpa made.
Well, when it was my dad’s birthday what better way to celebrate than to tell him (and his reconstructed knees & ankle) that he’ll be hiking this memorial death march!?! We ALL had a moment of slight panic at the thought of the physical aspect. However, my grandfather was made to march 60 miles without food or water, burying his friends along the way. We could honor him in this small way… besides, we aren’t getting younger. Time to cross this off our bucket list!
The morning started at 3:30am. Yes, you read that right. That’s determination. For me at least. It was beautiful and seeing everyone (military teams, civilians, everyone in general over 7k people!) was extremely motivating. Even more so were the disabled veterans, the ones completing this march with one leg. How incredibly humbling.
So did we survive? I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned…