The Brits Give Me War History Lessons

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I had posted earlier about Marine Miles Kerr, who had lost his 5k in order to help a little boy finish out the race (click HERE to check out the picture), so I figured Wounded Warrior Project would be a great charity to run for in honor of that. Run turned out to be a bit of an unexpected history lesson!

The Wounded Warrior Project honors and empowers wounded warriors by providing special programs and services, while also seeking to raise awareness and support in society for the wounded service members. 

As of June 2013, they’ve provided over 40,000 Transitional Care Packs (TCPs) for injured servicemen and women who are evacuated from field hospitals to larger military treatment facilities and have over 33,000 alumni from their programs (to learn more, visit their website at http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/). 

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blurry picture of the same memorial

The man who I asked to take a picture struggled a little, but finally managed to get one non-blurry picture (have yet another video of me standing awkwardly and smiling - check out last time it happened HERE). But as I started to put my headphones back on and prepared to continue my run, he chased me down and asked me if I even knew what the memorial was for.

Sheepishly shook my head (the inscription on the statue had only said when it was dedicated!) and got a history lesson from the British guy.

Apparently, the Bomber Command Memorial commemorates the over 55,000 members of the Bomber Command crews who lost their lives in World War II. The bombers were easy, slower targets which made for the extremely high casualty rates (Wikipedia says 44.4%)! The usage of the bombers during the war was pretty politically controversial, so they didn’t get their own memorial until last year. Pretty saddening :(

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Wellington Arch - commemorates British victories in the Napoleonic Wars.

Hearing that from him at the beginning of the run made me wonder about all the other monuments I was running past, so I’ve captioned the rest with the information. Made for a very, very, very long, and pretty somber run. 

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Royal Artillery Memorial - commemorates the close to 50,000 casualties in the Royal Regiment of Artillery, WWI. 

Made it to the Hyde Park after these three memorials, and did a quick run through the park because it was getting dark, fast. 

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Everyone in the park seemed to be a couple - even these ducks (+ all my photographers but the first)!

Pretty lonely, dark run back home - definitely had misjudged the time by a lot and couldn’t see in front of me very well by the time I had gotten back out of Hyde Park. 

Ran past one final memorial which reminded me a bit of the Vietnam War Memorial - 

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Australian War Memorial - lists the towns and battles from WWI and WWII that Australians served in (23,000 + towns and 47 battles), commemorating the 100,000+ casualties. 

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Was realllly tempted to take this last bike home and call it a night, but I realized that it would’ve been a bad idea because 1. Londoners drive on the left side of the road - how does that even WORK 2. The roads intersect from like six different directions 3. Helmet(!?) - I’ve crashed before…

[These bikes are EVERYWHERE in London and super popular to get from place to place (in case you couldn’t tell from all the missing bikes from this rack) - and it’s only 2 pounds to borrow one!]

Made it home ridiculously late and pretty humbled by the run; would never have really stopped to think about the history behind the monuments had that first man not stopped me. Wonder how many people pass by the same way every day…