DALLAS -- Simply put, Larry Hinkle is walking because he can.
"I am alive and I'm above the ground," Hinkle said.
Last year, the retired Marine walked from last Camp Lejeune to Camp Pendleton, a 2,700-mile trek.
This year, his mission is Texas, all of it. Along the way he plans to meet veterans to start a conversation and spread awareness about the battles veterans face every day.
It's a journey he's calling the "Lone Star Hump," a 16-city tour where he'll average 10 miles a day and have hundreds of interactions, just like this one.
"Hey, brother," Hinkle said to a man he passed wearing a hat with a patch that read "Vietname Veteran. "I'm walking across the state of Texas to honor veterans and first responders."
"Men like you laid the path for me to follow," he added.
Hinkle joined the Marine Corps a year before the 9/11 attack.
"I knew when I saw that second plane going in that stuff was about to get real," he said.
By 2003, he was fighting in Iraq. That's where he watched his brother in arms, 1st Sgt. Edward Smith, a combat veteran, go down.
"We were still lit," Hinkle said. "We had a mission to accomplish. We couldn't let that deter us. More so than anything, we weren't going to let first sergeant's name die in vain. We were going to fight for him, represent him with honor, integrity, courage and commitment."
Each step he takes across this state is for Smith and the other men and women who've died serving this county.
"I was in Kuwait and I remember telling myself that if I make it out of this war, when I make it out, I want to do something; I want to see this country; I want to see what I'm fighting for," he said.
For the next five months, he'll not only see what he was fighting for, but he'll meet the men and women who fought for him.
Follow Hinkle's journey by clicking here.
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