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"The Luckiest Man - July 4, 1939

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Written by Pat Curran

Posted on 17 January 2018

Last Updated 17 January 2018

DESTINATION TOUGHMAN: 69 Days Until Race Day

 

 

“Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. That I might have been given a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for. Thank you…”

 

 

--Lou Gehrig Speaking at Yankee Stadium – July 4, 1939

To watch video, click here

 

 

This week, I will be participating on the Tuesday's Children Team at the NYC Olympic Triathlon on July 8th. Distances will be a 1-mile swim, 25-mile bike and 6.2 mile run mostly in Central Park (Spectator’s Guide attached). This will be my 3rd year proudly supporting the organization and being part of the team. Please help me “Keep the Promise” and never forget those impacted by the events of September 11, 2001. Donate today by clicking here.

 

Also, as part of our journey, I want to highlight a NYC sports hero that on July 4, 1939 announced his retirement. For those Yankee fans reading, you know I am writing about none other than Lou Gehrig.

 

Lou Gehrig symbolizes so much to so many people. For me, it is a reminder that no matter how dark the road ahead may seem, you still have an ability to make a difference in people’s lives. Many generations later, his deeply humble and grateful words still echoes among us this very day.

 

My challenge for readers this week is to take a moment and inspire someone close to you that could really use it. My bet is that it will serve both of you well.

 

Have a great Independence Day! Until next week…

 

God Bless,

--Pat

 

www.freedomslight.org

 

Did this week’s message help you? If yes, here’s an opportunity to help other Great Americas, starting at just $25.

  • Fisher House: To donate, here
  • Tuesday’s Children   To donate, click here
  • Wounded Warrior Project: To donate, click here
  • Children of Fallen Patriots: To donate, click here
  • USO’s Operation Care Package:  To donate, click here

 

 

Letters From Your Father – “If Not Me, Then Who?”

 

 

I used to be a little boy,

So old in my shoes.

And what I choose is my choice,

What’s a boy supposed to do?

 

The killer in me is the killer in you.

My love… I send this smile over to you

 

The killer in me is the killer in you

I send this smile over to you!

 

 

Smashing Pumpkins singing, “Disarm”

To watch video, click here

 

Dear Girls:

 

I am going to ask you to pull your own lessons out of this week’s entry. Maybe it’s just an explanation for how I see things. Or maybe it’s just a recognition that at some point, we all experience events that force us to grow up.

 

Anyway, it’s a decision point that on the surface may not seem all that extraordinary but, as you will see in later journal entries, will have long term impacts.

 

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It’s early summer of 1995 and I am going into Cow (Junior) year at West Point. After about 2 weeks of leave, I say goodbye once again to your Mom. But this time, it’s really hard. No specific event happened. We are just both emotionally exhausted from the constant highs and lows of repeated “hellos” and “goodbyes.”

 

I return to West Point to pack my duffle bag and ruck sack with all of the necessary gear for Air Assault School. This is an Army school where we learn how to use ropes to rappel down mountains, buildings, and helicopters quickly to execute missions. Additionally, we also learn how to rig equipment for helicopter extractions and inspect for defects in order to avoid accidents.

 

As I get on the 5-ton truck for the trip to the school, one of my classmates asks me, “Curran, you OK?” I tell him I am fine then start complaining about how I am just tired of being away from my girlfriend, family, and friends. From that point, the questions stop. Homesickness is one of the most contagious viruses that can be passed among cadets. I take the hint and keep my mouth shut the rest of the ride.

 

The next morning is what they call “Zero Day.” The Air Assault instructors make you layout your equipment, put you through a physical fitness test, and obstacle course. One small failure in any of these areas and you are out of the course. All my equipment checks out, and I pass the physical fitness test easily. However, during the obstacle course, I fail to climb the rope on one of the mandatory obstacles. After getting yelled at, I am sent to the back of the line to try again. I then fail to climb the rope on the second attempt. Falling off the rope, one of the instructors steps about 2 inches from my nose, explains how worthless I am, then sends me to the area where all of the other disqualified cadets are standing. “How the hell did I fail to get up the rope?” I don’t have to search too hard to figure it out. My heart is not in it because, at some level, I am feeling sorry for myself.

 

That night, I get out of my bunk around 2am, grab a Coke from the soda machine, and sit on the steps. The sky is bright with a near full moon and stars. I had some hard thinking to do. Immediately what comes to mind is a saying I heard my Plebe year: Sometimes a leader has to postpone their emotions until they can afford to have them. Clearly, if there was one lesson to learn from today, it would be that one. I lost my focus. Once this uniform goes on, I cannot let my emotions distract me. Today, I let myself down and the only casualty was a bruised ego and an opportunity to graduate from Air Assault School. As a platoon leader, others will be depending on me to be both clear minded and decisive. Also, the stakes can be much, much higher. “Got it! Lesson learned.”

 

I thought I would feel relaxed after tackling that topic but I am not. There was a bigger question in a few weeks I have to decide on. Am I willing to give up to 8 years of my life to serve my country above all else after gradation?” Instantaneously, after asking myself the question, the answer was a deep and committed “Yes! It’s part of the deal. I’m in.”

 

Then, a follow-up question comes to mind. “Yes, but are you in all the way?” I pause… What I realize is that this is a watershed moment. What I am getting myself into goes beyond some childish action-hero fantasy where no one gets hurt and the “good guys” always prevail. Nor was this some football game where I beat the snot out of someone for 4 quarters and then we shake hands and say “Good Game” afterward. This is “Two men enter, one man leaves” kind of stuff. No guarantees of happy endings are made. There may be moments that are totally unnatural to me where I have to be equally as cold, calculating, and ruthless as the “bad guys” so I know how they think, act, and victimize. The only difference is that I (like my peers) am bound by a set of legal, moral, ethical rules/beliefs that draws a clear distinction between right and wrong, between killing out of self-defense and murdering out of self-interest.

 

Suddenly, the next question comes to mind. “If not me, then who?” I take another sip from my Coke can and look up at the moon to think. Then, a jolt of emotion comes over me. It’s time to make that full transition from being a boy into being a man. From this point forward, I will give everything I have. To do my watch. To take care of my men. To be a trusted leader who knows how to fight and win.

 

I’m in, alright! All the way… All the way and then some…

 

--------

 

Things became much clearer for me after that night. I made the full commitment to be part of the profession of arms and live among the little known, and often misunderstood “American Warrior Class.” At least for a little while…

 

More next week…

 

With Love,

--Dad

 

 

 

This Week in Training:

Last week I had trouble balancing my training plan with my other priorities and only completed 5 of 7 workouts. However, I remain optimistic because it's the first week I’ve missed a workout in my 4 weeks of training.

 

This week is going to be a challenge. Although confident that I will successfully complete the NYC Triathlon this weekend, I am not in top shape. Good news is that I am feeling very healthy with only minor aches/pain.

 

Here’s this week’s workout plan going into Race Day:

 

Monday: Swim 10-15 x 100m; Strength Training – Legs, Knees, & Hips

Tuesday: Bike 75 min; Run 60 min; 8 Chin-ups / 50 Pushups / Ice Knees

Wednesday: Swim 2000m; Bike 90 min – Steep Terrain

Thursday: Swim 2000m; Bike 1.25 hrs; Begin Hydration Plan

Friday: Practice Transitions – Swim 400m / Bike 20 min / Run 20 min;

Saturday: Pre-race Meals & Stretch; Equipment Layout; Safety Briefings

Sunday: NYC-T! 1-Mile Swim / 25-Mile Bike / 6.2 Mile Run

 

 

 

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