Memorial Day is a bittersweet time of the year for military spouse Brittany Burges.
“I married my soldier over Memorial Day weekend in 2010 and he has been gone for three out of four anniversaries,” said the mother of two. “Given the fact that he isn’t here right now because he’s on assignment in Germany, I didn’t want to wallow in self pity and sit in my PJs all day.”
His absence gave her the incentive to get up and get moving.
“What better way to honor him than by working out with veterans and other military spouses,” she said.
Veterans, spouses and civilians alike started off their Memorial Day working up a sweat at Heritage Park Fitness’ fourth “WOD with Warriors” functional fitness event.
“WOD with Warriors” is a nationwide event that takes place twice per year, on Veterans and Memorial days. WOD is a functional fitness term meaning “workout of the day.”
“I did one for Veterans Day and I wanted to honor my husband and all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Burges said.
The special Memorial Day workout was called the “21 Gun Salute.”
Participants completed 21 repetitions of five exercises. The repetitions signified a 21-gun salute honoring veterans and the five exercises represented the five branches of the military.
“It is important for the community to realize how many veterans there are,” said Kristen Dunlap, wellness coordinator for the gym. “This event also encourages veterans to get out, meet more veterans and meet other members of the community.”
All donations went to Team Red, White and Blue, whose mission is to enrich the lives of veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. The team is a national organization that supports veterans’ transitions from combat and from military to civilian life. According to their website, each group is tailored to a local community to help and challenge veterans by giving them an opportunity to bond over fitness. These social relationships raise quality of life and help avoid the negative effects of post-traumatic stress.