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Vet making trek on behalf of freedom

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Timothy Karan
Monday, April 16, 2012
 

Lance Robinson hopes his legs are as strong as his heart.

The 55-year-old Marine veteran from Export visited the Cosgrove Post 523 American Legion in Rural Valley on Sunday afternoon as part of his efforts to create a new national holiday for active-duty military personnel, veterans, firemen, police and anyone who has worn a uniform in the name of freedom.

During his ambitious "Honor Ride Across America," Robinson aims to walk or bicycle through each state capital to stir support for the U.S. to designate Sept. 10 as "Brother to Brother Day." Although he will occasionally rely on public transportation, the former laborer hopes to travel to California and back largely on foot by October.

Robinson has said Brother to Brother Day is "to be a day of recognition and reconnection" for past and present soldiers, and said he came up with the idea in "a call from God" during a previous walk from Export to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C.

"On my first journey, when I walked to the Tomb, it was about honor in a quiet way," Robinson said on his website. "This march is about making all the noise I can make."

What separates Brother to Brother Day from Veterans Day or Memorial Day is that Robinson hopes to bring a sense of community to older veterans and younger ones who might be struggling to rebuild their lives upon their return from active duty. He chose Sept. 10 because he said the day before Sept. 11 represents "the last day of freedom."

Robinson started his national mission on Sept. 10, 2010, and last month, Pennsylvania became the fifth state to pass a resolution recognizing the holiday. So far, he has received support from more than 70 public officials in 18 states and he's looking for one million signatures in support of the holiday to give to Congress.

At yesterday's event, Robinson presented a slideshow of some of the people he's met on his travels and spoke to a group of about 50 including Sen. Don White, R-Indiana, State Rep. Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion, and representatives of the state police.

For more information on the Honor Ride Across America and Brother to Brother Day, visit http://brothertobrotherday.webs.com.

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