No rivalry in college football contains the history, pageantry or emotion like Army-Navy. The meeting between these bitter rivals united by service to their country is truly special each and every year. When the two teams Dec. 13 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., former Army fullback Mike Viti (pictured right with former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates) will increase the emotion of the game by a thousand fold.
The game will be Viti’s last stop in a 7,100-kilometer hike. Viti is walking a kilometer to honor every U.S. soldier who died in combat since 9/11.
“We’re taking time to pay homage,” Viti told CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel. “It’s not sexy, walking along a road, but these people died protecting our country and we’re honoring that.”
Viti, who gave up a successful job with a major hospital corporation, began his journey on April 26 in DuPont, Wash. One hundred seventy-four days later, the former Black Knights is still walking somewhere in Georgia or South Carolina, according to Doyel.
“This isn’t about us,” Viti said. “These guys paid the ultimate sacrifice, and for me it’s not good enough to say, ‘Hey, I respect what these guys did.’ It’s our job as combat vets, Army football players, to carry the legacies of our brothers and sisters in arms. Our thank you to make sure their legacies aren’t lost.”
Viti played for Army from 2003-07. The fullback never experienced a victory against Navy, but he’ll enter the stadium this year already a winner and a great example for everyone around the country.
Follow Viti’s trek or donate to his cause via MikesHikingforHeroes.com.