Since I’ve never really done anything meaningful for July 4th, a few months ago I began looking into possibilities to actually memorialize those soldiers who died for our country this time. Daniel suggested I try to combine this with something in the realm of exercise, knowing how much I love to swim and run. When I learned about what was going on in Atlanta I jumped at the chance! A 10 kilometer run was organized there in memory and respect for July 4th and at the same time, to raise money for Parkinson’s disease through the National Parkinson Foundation. In addition, this project gave me a great excuse to have to leave the house every night at 6 (dinner-bath-bedtime) as I had to “train” for the event!
For the longest time we’d been meaning to make a trip to Georgia since much of Daniel’s family is there but for one reason or another, it’s never happened…until now. The race is expected to attract a staggering 60,000 individuals, all running with July 4th in mind while trying to make a difference for those living with Parkinson’s. Also being memorialized at the event is the 150th anniversary of the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, remembering Henry Zim who died there.
One particular individual to have survived the bloodbath at Gettysburg was Private Ellis Strouss. Shortly after the battle he wrote a letter on July 6, 1863, to his mother (in the archives of the Shapell Manuscript Foundation) assuring her of his safety. He told her he was confident that his army would be able to: “whip Lee’s Army so that he will not be fit to do anything more for some time to come.” People running in Atlanta on 4th July for Parkinson’s are also doing so in memory of Henry Zim, who didn’t share the same fortune as Strouss. He died that day and today has a memorial in front of St. James Methodist Church, Greene Street. There were 23 other members of this church who suffered the same fate but Zim was remembered specifically “for kind attention to his mothers and sisters.”
Truthfully what can be more apt for me therefore – on so many levels – than participating in this event? Let’s just hope my training pays off and I don’t come in last, as despite wanting to do the race for the importance behind it, my ego still has a lot to say!