EVENT: ASICS LA Marathon 2013
EVENT DATE: Mar 17, 2013
This year I will be running the LA Marathon in memory of my father. He is remembered for his military service as USAF Major Edward P. Monroe, Jr. His friends knew him as Bucky Monroe or Buck for short. To me, he was simply my Dad. He died on March 15, 2012. He was seventy-seven years old.
I am also running to raise funds for the Disabled American Veterans organization to honor my Dad and his service in the US Air Force. The DAV took care of my father in his last years and they work hard on behalf of our returning service men and women struggling with not only physical injuries, but also post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. They say over 50% of all returning vets suffer from PTSD. I think that statistic should be more like 100%.
My Dad was a Vietnam Veteran. He was a chopper pilot – Hueys to be exact. He could have flown jets but he liked helicopters best because he always said they were more fun.
My Dad struggled with PTSD and he never spoke much of Vietnam. It wasn’t until after his death that we found out he had been awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross. This medal is one of the top honors bestowed upon an enlisted member of the US Air Force. It is given in recognition of ‘heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight’.
No one in my family knew about it. No one knew what he had done. The medal had been buried in his bureau for over forty years. We later found out that he rescued six men in August of 1969. They were trapped behind enemy lines and surrounded with little chance of survival. He landed his chopper in jungle so thick he couldn’t see the sky once he was on the ground but they made it out.
There are families out there who saw their fathers, sons, and brothers come home alive because of Buck Monroe. I am immensely proud of my father.
Major Monroe will always be my hero, not because of a medal, but because he was my Dad. I still remember sitting on the floor as a little girl with my foot balanced up on his knee as he taught me to tie my shoes.
He told me once that his proudest moment as my father was watching me race in elementary school at a field day event. It was probably a 100 meter dash and I don’t even remember if I placed but he said he knew in that moment as I raced, red-faced and determined, that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.
So on March 17th, 2013 when the starting gun fires I will race for my Dad and for all veterans from all wars in honor of their service to our country. I know my father will be watching and he will be with me every step of the way. He used to always call me his angel… Now he is mine.