Marine vet Lance Robinson won't stop walking until he's visited all 50 state capitals and has persuaded Congress to give proper recognition to America's veterans.
They say there’s no such thing as an ex-Marine.
Lance Robinson, 53, of Export, Pa., is proving that every day as he begins a singlehanded effort to walk to each state capital in an effort to bring recognition to America’s veterans.
Robinson, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1974 until his involuntary discharge in 1978, began his mission as a means to establish what he has dubbed Brother to Brother Day, where all veterans, especially those who have served in the Middle East, can recognize each other for their service.
Brother to Brother Day would be observed each Sept. 10, but not as a national holiday such as Veterans Day or Memorial Day, which he feels has been trivialized and commercialized almost to the point of being meaningless.
“The Lord has put it in my heart to get out there and create awareness of the veteran and our new veterans,” Robinson said during a Sept. 24 stop in Dover. “The youth of today don’t regard those as days of honor. It’s just another day to them.”
Sept. 10 is Robinson’s day of choice because “that’s the day before all hell broke loose.”
As a prelude to his current quest, in August he walked from his home to Arlington National Cemetery, where he presented an American flag and the flags of all the nation’s armed services to members of the Old Guard, who stand watch over the tomb. That trek gave him the impetus to launch his current effort.
Robinson made the first stop on his current sojourn at Annapolis, Md., where he presented his petition for Brother to Brother Day to that city’s mayor. He made the same presentation to Dover Mayor Carleton E. Carey Sr. Sept. 27. Carey later issued a proclamation saying Sept. 10, 2011, will be observed as Brother to Brother Day in Dover.
Once he has the signatures of the mayors of all 50 capital cities, Robinson will take the petition to Washington, D.C., where he will ask members of Congress to sponsor legislation establishing Brother to Brother Day.
Robinson said he has the full support of his wife and three children in his endeavor.
He walks between 20 and 25 miles daily, sometimes less if he spends time talking to well-wishers along the way, pulling a cart loaded with approximately 150 pounds of supplies. The cart is festooned with the American flag and the service flags of the nation’s military branches.
So far, he also has collected digital photographs of more than 300 people who have supported his effort, including those who donate money or other means of support.
Stopping in Dover Sept. 23, Robinson was welcomed at Walter L. Fox American Legion Post No. 2, where First Vice Commander Michael Cohill gave him permission to pitch a camp near the post headquarters. The post members also donated a meal, Cohill said.
“That’s what the American Legion is all about, helping veterans,” he said.
Robinson also saw that kind of support Sept. 24 near Dover International Speedway, where he was greeted with several thumbs-up gestures. The driver of a yellow pickup honked as he passed, yelling, “Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about!” and giving the U.S. Army’s “hooah!” battle cry.
After leaving Dover, Robinson has set his sights on making his way to northeast state capitals before winter sets in. He’ll then head down South, then across the American plains.
And what’s up for Robinson once his task is complete?
“I don’t know,” he admitted. “John Kennedy said not to ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.
“I don’t see an end to my working for my country.”
Email Jeff Brown at email@example.com.