A former Green Beret from Arlington who served six tours in Afghanistan is marching 50 miles around New York City from Yankee Stadium to Ground Zero to mark the 20-year anniversary of 9/11.
"It's actually kind of nice,” Darrin Beheler said as he started the walk known as a ruck march. “The breeze is perfect."
Darrin Beheler is carrying a 35-pound backpack loaded with water and a change of clothes and shoes.
"It's like an ultra marathon,” he said. "For me, it's a different kind of healing and it's a camaraderie thing."
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Beheler joined the U.S. Army unexpectedly after Sept. 11, 2001.
"That was never my plan, ever,” he said. “Then 9/11 happened and then it seemed like the only right thing to do at the time. It changed so many lives."
"I feel bad it ended this way, the way it ended,” Beheler said. “But you know, we did our jobs. Nobody over there, in my opinion, died in vain. We were doing what we could to make the world a better place and we achieved that."
Beheler retired from the military in 2017 and now works for a staffing company.
The march is called "50 For the Fallen." Fifty for the 50 miles they're walking to raise money for the families of fallen veterans and first responders.
"When they offered this opportunity to come march for Gold Star families there wasn't any way I was going to say no,” Beheler said.
He visited Ground Zero -- what's now a memorial and museum -- when he first arrived in New York on Thursday.
"I didn't think it would hit me as hard as it did,” he said.
Beheler said he’s thinking of his fellow soldiers who never made it home – and his canine partner Dino who passed away in 2019.
By Saturday morning, he and the others will arrive at Ground Zero, the end of a grueling march to mark a sober day in history that changed his life – and the entire world.