Earning My Wings

“Thank you.” Two simple words that have been uttered by close friends and family, complete strangers, soldiers and civilians, and the veterans whose legacies I run to help preserve. Sometimes, to be honest, I have a hard time accepting those words of appreciation; all I want to do is pass them along to those who stormed the beaches on June 6, 1944 and fought in the bitter cold of the Bois Jacques that winter.

I am just simply a runner who just wants to say “thanks” in the way I know best.


A 93-year-old Normandy veteran wrote me a letter a few months back to tell me how much he appreciated “the gift that is Run For Currahee.” In reality, all I wanted to do was tell him how much I appreciated him. He was the one with the combat decorations on his uniform. I run to earn his respect.

Standing on the Carentan DZ on June 5, Veterans Affairs Officer Peter Plank presented me with a challenge coin honoring a “courage and commitment to the Armed Forces.” With tears in my eyes, realizing the scale of the endeavor I was preparing to embark on, I accepted it. I run to earn that honor and the coin I carried with me in my pack all 850 miles.

Halfway, through my journey upon arriving in Bastogne, I was
presented with a plaque at the Barracks and former regimental headquarters of the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge, something returning veterans are often welcomed with. I run to earn my keep among their ranks.

In October, upon returning to the United States and speaking at the Currahee Military Weekend banquet in front of hundreds, including Camp Toccoa veterans, I received a standing ovation. I run to earn the respect those veterans, my heroes, have graciously given me.

However, over the past few months, I have been struggling to run at all. I have not been the same since I fell during the Lookout Mountain 50 Miler. And although mostly bad came out of my accident, so did a little bit of good: the outpouring of support, good luck messages from all over the World, prayers and hugs have reminded how many wonderful people I have in my simple little life. I am thankful every day for you. I run for all of you. 

I continue to work toward recovery and healing as training begins for my next endeavor. I can guarantee I will be returning to Normandy in June to once again run the coastline in a 100 mile effort dubbed the D-Day 100 Mile Honor Run. And I will come back stronger than ever.

Upon starting Run For Currahee, I was given a pair of Jump Wings, and I want to make sure I earn them. 

— Kathryn Lindquist —


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