Lt. Col. Frederick Moss never runs alone.
Every time he runs a military-oriented race, this staff officer at Army Reserve Command on Fort Bragg, N.C., carries a binder filled with the names of some 58,000 American service members who died in Vietnam. Two of those names are of his father and uncle.
“We have to continue to remember those who served,” Moss told Fox News. “My father and his comrades’ names — they meant something. We can never forget their service to this nation.”
Lt. Col. Frederick Moss, a senior staff officer for the U.S. Army Reserve Headquarters at Fort Bragg, runs by the North Carolina Veterans Park in Fayetteville. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret)
Moss followed in his father’s footsteps when he joined the military. Terry Leon Williams was a Marine who served in Vietnam; he died in 2012.
The binder full of names grows every year because more are added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Moss pointed out.
The idea to physically carry the names with him during military races had simple enough origins. He wanted to honor not only his father and uncle, but all the others who served in Vietnam, Moss said.
“I’m an Army officer guy, a stuff guy — we’ve got a binder for everything,” Moss said. “So I came up with this idea. How about I take the wall and print out the names and put it in a binder, and we’ll keep moving.”
Moss looks through the names of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall with his son, Brandon, while visiting Washington, D.C. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Felix Fimbres)
He first printed the names one-sided from his home computer, using your typical 12-point font. He quickly needed to make a trip to the local office supply store to get some more toner, Moss said.
“I had to shrink it down to size 8 font, and print it on the front and back” of each page, he said.
No matter, because it was the simplest way he could do something — “carry something on my own person,” he explained — that would have the same impact, in a sense, as seeing the wall itself.
Moss at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall with his family in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. 1st Class Javier Orona)
When he runs races — his most recent was an Army Ten-Miler earlier this month — people approach him and ask him what he’s carrying, Moss said.
The most powerful moments are when family members who lost loved ones whose names are on the wall come up to him, he said.
“They hug me,” Moss said, because his binder is a reminder that “people have not forgotten our loved ones and the sacrifice they made for our country.”
Moss takes a selfie with Lt. Gen. Charles Luckey, commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve, while showing him a binder representing the fallen veterans of the Vietnam War during the Army Ten Miler in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 13. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Felix Fimbres)
When his father came home from Vietnam and returned to Memphis, “it was extremely different” than when he returned from his deployments with the Navy for Desert Shield and Desert Storm. This was before he joined the Army, Moss said.
The country was divided when his father returned home. That was also the year Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
“Understandably, there was not only the public’s opinion of the Vietnam War, but there was also the civil rights movement going on,” Moss said. “Flash forward to my return, we didn’t have any of that. It was a completely different experience.”
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Moss intends to carry his binder, and the names of those not forgotten, for as long as he can.
“This is not a fire and forget,” he said. “As long as I’m able to physically go out and do this type of thing to honor those who went off to do something great for this country and didn’t return, and honor their loved ones, I’m going to continue to do it.”
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He hopes his mission will make his 9-year-old son, Brandon, proud, too.
Moss with his son, Brandon, and wife, Cherie. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Felix Fimbres)
“At the end of the day, as we’re walking in D.C. looking at the names, he’s learning about history and the type of impact the average citizen can have on freedom and democracy,” Moss said. “He’s learning that firsthand through his lens watching what I do.”
Moss — along with the more than 58,000 names — said his next race will be the Fort Bragg Ten-Miler on Nov. 2.
SOURCE : https://www.foxnews.com/us/army-reserve-lieutenant-colonel-runs-with-a-binder-with-names-of-us-service-members-who-died-in-vietnam