(09/16/13) - A Mid-Michigan man's 31-year journey is about to come to a successful end.
Michael Bowen, who is also known as the Flagman, started out with a goal - run one mile for each name carved on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C.
He'll cross that finish line later this week.
"It's my own personal mission, it's almost over," he said.
Before 1982, you could not call Bowen an avid runner. Now, more than three decades later, he's closing in on 58, 282 miles - the same number of names on the Vietnam War Memorial in the nations capitol.
"I have a little guilt complex. I didn't have to serve, I didn't get wounded. I was in during the war, but I was in Germany," he said.
He has stayed on his path through cancer and through knee surgeries. Bowen has completed more than 50 marathons, 26 Crim road races and countless silent runs through Flushing Park. He has carried an important message every step of the way.
"I think this is my seventh flag for running, it's getting kinda ragged. It's had it's last patch," he said.
On Friday, National POW-MIA Day, Bowen will log his final run - in Washington D.C. at the Vietnam War Memorial, the same place he vowed to start this mission.
"I got about 20 miles to go, it's almost hard to believe. I'm happy," he said.
While it will signal the completion of a tremendous journey, it is not the end of his personal sacrifice.
"I'll probably just keep running with the flag, it's a good way to go," he said. "Maybe the last I live, I'll be running with it."
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