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HONORING A HERO'S HISTORY
Eddie Dixon did not have to search far to find motivation for running the 2009 MCM10K, his first MCM event. His grandfather, a Marine WWII veteran of the Solomon Islands campaign, provided the inspiration for Dixon to complete the course. George Edward “Cotton” Dixon was Eddie’s “American Hero” and set an example for Eddie through his dedication and service to his country.
Cotton, a corporal at the time of his discharge, loved being a Marine. Eddie chose to run the MCM10K due to its location in the capital as well as the Marine support on course as a nod to his grandfather’s fondness for the Corps. On race day, Eddie wore a shirt with his grandfather’s service details listed on the front and a quote by Ronald Reagan that read, “Some people wonder their whole lives if they made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”
Sadly, after finishing the MCM10K Dixon received word that his grandfather had fallen ill. He immediately returned home to Kentucky and two days later, his “papaw” passed away. After speaking at his funeral, Eddie buried his 10K medal with Cotton as a tribute to his service. To further honor the elder Dixon, he will be running his first full marathon at the 2011 MCM and plans to place his finisher’s medal at his grandfather’s gravesite.
“My grandfather, like many Marines and others who have served honorably in protecting our country, did not do it for the notoriety,” says Dixon. “But I would like to imagine he would have been proud of me in completing such a monumental task and trying to carry on the Dixon name in an admirable manner.”
Dixon admits that training for a marathon is more intimidating and time-consuming than he imagined, but that remembering where he will be running the marathon and who he is running for has made it more tolerable. Honoring Cotton and acknowledging the sacrifices military members make to serve their country will carry him through to a strong finish.
“To think about the situations and circumstances my grandfather (and others who have served our great nation) have faced in time of turmoil and war, I am constantly reaffirmed that in running a marathon I am faced with a daunting task … but it pales in comparison to what they faced,” says Dixon.
As a world history teacher, Eddie constantly reminds his students that “history is the documentation of people” like his grandfather. He is looking forward to running once again in the nation’s capital where he will carry his on his grandfather’s legacy while running in the footsteps of great American leaders.
“In discussing the importance of my grandfather, I try to express that when we study history, these important individuals were real people who had fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, etc. and their accomplishments have and will continue to live on in this documentation,” says Dixon.
In light of his grandfather’s passing, Dixon feels the final hill and MCM finish at the Marine Corps War Memorial will be special for him. A self-professed “emotional individual,” he acknowledges that his 10K finish in 2009 to honor Cotton was especially poignant. Now further honoring his grandfather, Dixon expects to have a very meaningful marathon finish.
“I feel this time will be a mood of completing the proverbial circle in paying true respect to my grandfather,” says Dixon.
Reflecting back over the events of the last few years, Dixon realizes how fragile and short life is. He believes that how we spend our days and who we share our time with defines our character and what we are remembered for once we are gone.
“In regards to how we are remembered,” shares Dixon, “my dad said recently that it is not important to be remembered by what we do but by whom it is that remembers us.”
Cotton Dixon lived a heroic life as a United States Marine, but his greatest achievement well may be in his positive influence upon his grandson, evidenced by how Eddie remembers him. One of Eddie’s favorite quotes is from Coach Lou Holtz. Holtz says, “Every day some ordinary person does something extraordinary. Today is your turn.” On Oct. 30, Eddie will achieve the extraordinary to honor an extraordinary man.
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