Man Runs One Mile for Every Fallen Vietnam Vet: 58K

Michael Bowen, 65, began tribute in 1982

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff | Suggested by Ghille

Posted Sep 21, 2013 8:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Runner Michael Bowen completed a special mile yesterday—he has now run one for each of the more than 58,000 US vets who didn't come home from the Vietnam War. The 65-year-old Michigan man began the tribute in 1982 and has been running regularly ever since, despite colon cancer and three knee surgeries, reports the Detroit Free Press and the Huffington Post. He finished the last mile at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, carrying as usual a POW/MIA flag—hence the nickname "Flagman."

Bowen is an Army vet himself who served in the Vietnam era, though he was stationed in West Germany during the war. He says he got inspired for the run when visiting the wall at its dedication and talking to a woman whose son was listed as a POW. Now that he's finished, is it time for a nice rest? Hardly. “I’ve got another 3,000 more for the people who died on 9/11.”

A visitor to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial touches the name of a fallen soldier.
A visitor to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial touches the name of a fallen soldier.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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