Freedom Isn’t Free: Memorial Day Personal Stories

Dr. Victor Washington in front of WWII Memorial

Fitness on the Run is honored to share our family with five retired and active duty members of the military. In honor of Memorial Day, below are their reflections on this special day.

The FOR family extends a heartfelt THANK YOU to those who shared their stories. To members of our armed services, veterans, and their families, we appreciate and remember your sacrifices on this Memorial Day and throughout the year. God Bless America!

Dr. Victor Washington in front of WWII Memorial

Dr. Victor Washington in front of WWII Memorial

Dr. Victor Washington, PT, DPT, Army

“I value Memorial Day because to me, it’s taking the opportunity to memorialize the many men and women who were soldiers and even civilians who lost their lives in service to our country for the current freedoms we have. Truly reflecting on their heroism makes you humble and appreciate their sacrifice as they fought to defend our nation’s beliefs, fighting with dignity and respect for our way of life. Their sacrifice cannot be in vain by limiting and celebrating them on one day only, but by cherishing their lives through progress and defending the very thing they gave their lives to defend, our nation’s Constitution.”

Shawn Gray and Sid Hatcher

Shawn Gray and Sid Hatcher

Shawn Gray, Marine Corps

“While I sit back and enjoy life, stress over my daily routine — I wake, go to work, pay bills, worry about the kids, try to save a real retirement. But on Memorial Day especially, I start dreaming and wishing to be back in the Corps. I miss working with Marines…mentoring and making a difference in some young Marine’s life.  But I also remember the hurt from losing those whom I call my extended family who are no longer here. I think of their families and how many parents, sons, daughters are missed. The following Marines will always be on my mind, every time I wake and am able to enjoy my daily routine stress:

Staff Sgt Kendall Water Bey USMC, Died 3-21-2003, Age 29
Lance Cpl Patrick Adle, Died 06-29-2004, Age 21
Staff Sgt James Pettaway Jr., Age 37
Lance Cpl Anthony Roberts, Died 04-06-2004, Age 18
Lance Cpl Russell White, Died 06-20-04, Age 19
Lance Cpl David Branning, Died 11-12-2004, Age 21
Cpl Dale Burger Jr., Died 11-14-2004, Age 21
Cpl Kyle Reneham, Died 12-09-2004, Age 21
Lance Cpl Micheal Starr Jr., Died 01-26-2005, Age 21
Lance Cpl James Higgins, Died 07-27-2006, Age 22
Lance Cpl Eric Herzberg, Died 10-21-2006, Age 20
Cpl Jennifer Parcell, Died 02-07-2007, Age 20

Sid Hatcher, Navy

“I think of Memorial Day as a special day to reflect that “freedom isn’t free.”  As Americans, we should pay respect and gratitude to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice, whether in peace or in conflict, to preserve and defend that freedom. Those who gave their all gave it for something bigger than themselves.  Whether Memorial Day involves a barbecue or a ballgame, a parade or a pool, I encourage my family and friends to take some time for reverence in honor of those who gave their lives to keep our nation free.  While it may be more personal to those of us who have served and lost brothers in arms, Memorial Day is call for all Americans to join together in support of what we stand for.”

Shawn Gray and Darren Dick

Shawn Gray and Darren Dick

Darren Dick, Navy

“Memorial Day is a day for both remembrance and celebration.  We consecrate the day for honoring those Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom.  It is easy to take for granted our way of life and the privileges we enjoy.  Reflecting on the sacrifice of those who died in service to our country is an effective guard against such presumption.  We also celebrate the courage and selflessness demonstrated by our fallen comrades in arms.  General George Patton is credited with saying that rather than mourning those who have died, we should be thankful that such men and women lived.   So this Memorial Day, I encourage us all to remember the high price liberty demands and to celebrate the men and women who choose to serve in defense of freedom.”

Remi Rory, Air Force


“Memorial Day is very special to me. I usually use this day to reflect on the service that others have paid. I have served in the Air Force, but others have paid with a larger sacrifice than I have ever made. I use this time to spend with family and friends.  I try to create an atmosphere of positivity and love in memory of what this great country stands for. I am most grateful for my freedom. Freedom to create the life of my choosing in a country that makes this possible.”

  • The latest from Adrien

Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home. Today, “FOR” is home to more than 250 clients, 11 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. She is passionate about helping others view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix.

Adrien’s recipe for success has evolved from a rigid training plan of a 4-5 workouts per week. Now, she believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results — even if its only five minutes a day. She works daily to help clients understand the three most vital component of a effective fitness program are consistency, sustainability, and fun.

Adrien believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and our health and that change is always within reach. She lives a clean lifestyle, insists on getting sufficient quality sleep, and finds ways to manage her stress, typically through dancing with her kids nightly.

Fitness on the Run is Fitness for Life. Combining a focus on strong bodies and strong minds with a robust wellness education program and unparalleled personalized attention, we provide fitness for health, longevity and functionality.

Fitness on the Run
210 N Lee St.,
Alexandria, VA 22314

1 Comment

  1. alexandra says:

    this is so sweet.

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