Every morning when John Shannon wakes up he makes sure to begin his day with a heart full of faith, hope, and love… and last but not least, a run. However, Friday morning’s jog around downtown Lansing, that ended on the steps of the state capital, had him feeling especially grateful.
“I feel good,” said Shannon with a smile on his face. “I got that runner’s high you know? That’s what it is. That’s the difference. That’s healing.”
Shannon has always had a passion for running, but after serving three tours in Afghanistan, along with six total deployments as a Green Beret, it took on a whole new meaning for him when he retired and came home to Michigan in 2015.
“You know when I retired out of the service, I gained a lot of weight. I suffered from depression, and anxiety, and those were things that for me were major struggles,” said Shannon. “What I found is encouragement through running, and running often. I promote it. As far as running through my problems and not away from them.”
Shannon enlisted in the service exactly one year to-the-date after 9/11 and like many people it’s a date that changed his life forever. Shannon knows how hard of day this is for those who lost their loved ones, for the first responders at the scene, and for those who were on the front lines to fight the war on terrorism.
It’s why he strapped his flag to his back, and hit the pavement Friday to embark on a 9.11 mile journey.
“I guess you could say I felt a calling,” he said. “I’m going to do this 9.11 mile run, and you know? I’m running with the flag I retired with. I recently went to Shanksville, Pennsylvania for personal closure. I wore my boots that I last deployed in there. I carried the flag that I was retired with, and I walked that crash site, and uh it was very emotional and very healing, but also personal closure. For this run it’s the same sense.
Shannon arrived at the capital just minutes before the South Tower was hit at 9:03 a.m. and once the clock turned, he bowed down for a moment of silence. A 19-year mission is now complete.
Shannon’s new mission now is to help other veterans who are in need, by being a brand ambassador for a non-profit organization known as Mission 22.
If you’d like more information on how to donate, or are a veteran who is looking for support you can find more information about Mission 22 by clicking this link: https://mission22.com/