Sept. 14, 2011
When he wakes up this morning, Justin Kashner will dress for a three-mile run through an undisclosed location in North Carolina.
He chose the distance he and his National Guard battalion will cover to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that ended at three sites -- the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pa. The run also will raise money for Team Red, White and Blue, an organization started by one of his former Army baseball teammates that helps wounded soldiers who are trying to integrate into private life.
Sitting idle on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 would not do for Kashner, a 2001 Pleasant Valley High graduate. He enrolled at the United States Military Academy at West Point several months before America came under attack a decade ago. Looking back, he can't envision taking a different path, from the four years he spent training to be a soldier to the five-year Army commitment that twice took him to Iraq.
"At the end of the day, I knew going to West Point I was going to serve my country," Kashner, 28, said in a recent phone interview. "Whether in peace time or war time, that was a commitment that I was willing to make."
For the complete article by Stephen Miller of the Allentown (Pa.) Morning Call click here