Veteran Runs Through Arkansas Cities Carrying American Flag: ‘I’m All About Unity’

Nethaniel Thomas
Region 8 News

A Gulf War combat veteran from Lee County, Arkansas, is using his passion for running to spread unity and love to everyone he meets.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, Nathaniel Thomas wanted to do something to help keep people’s spirits up, according to KAIT.

“It was placed on my heart then, ‘What can I do as a citizen to try to keep Forrest City and those surrounding communities encouraged?’ I enjoy running,” he said.

Since that time, he has run ten miles every Saturday in numerous cities across the state, all while carrying an American flag.

“I’m trying to go all over Arkansas, trying to hit every major city I can hit and continue to do it, as long as we go through the challenges we’re going through right now,” he explained.

During his runs, Thomas carried the flag high on his left shoulder and saluted every car that passed.

“By the time I start out running and that flag goes up, I hear the horns start blowing, people waving, thumbs up, people applaud,” he explained.

In June, the gym owner and fitness trainer told the Malvern Daily Record that he loved serving his country and felt it was important to spread positivity and hope.

“I just want to do my part and hope to touch hearts. This is a big honor, and I’m all about unity and want everyone to know we are all in this together,” he commented.

Recently, Thomas said he felt overwhelmed when people saw him on the street and automatically stopped to salute him.

“I have had a few tears in my eyes during this run in some places. So, it’s just, it’s very touching because I know that’s what we are really about,” he stated.

The veteran said he planned to keep running every weekend through August and end his journey where it began in Forrest City.

“It’s going to be an emotional one for me because of all the things I have done and the people I’ve met on this journey. It’s going to be emotional but we’re going to get it and get through it,” Thomas concluded.

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