Red, white and blue American flags surround the common in Colonial Amherst, NH, on Flag Day. The Flag Day 5k race starts and finishes at the idyllic church overlooking the green—a church where people in the area have experienced weddings, funerals and baptisms whether or not they go there on Sundays. So the scene is ripe for emotion. Add that the race is a fundraiser for veterans’ service projects including flags for veterans’ grave markers in Amherst cemeteries. And that the veteran bestowing the medals at the finish line is the boss of Amherst Label.

Poignant, right?

For some of us, a 5k is our personal version of a marathon. Improbably difficult and challenging. Some of us never prepare enough, if at all. The date sneaks up on us and we’re lucky if our sneakers are decent enough to run in.

Nick Calvetti, center, Amherst Label’s owner and a US Army Veteran, was at the end of the race to congratulate his granddaughter Carolyn (left) and her mom, Angela (right). Angela hadn’t raced since last year’s Flag Day 5k but claims she will “run for pizza.”

But a few weeks before, a few miles away at Amherst Label’s manufacturing site, we had worked on a snazzy label for the runners to apply to water bottles or car bumpers as a memento of the race. Amherst Label was asked to donate these stickers in 2018 and this year we asked the organizers if we could donate them again. Veterans’ causes hit home for us. We are proud to thank veterans every chance we get.

With the Amherst church in the background, a selfie at the end of the race.

On my kitchen table are my two Flag Day 5k race medals and a few of the race labels. The display reminds me that I did something I thought was going to be too hard for me to do. And that I should do something like that each and every day. Some wise person said all growth happens outside our comfort zones. And Eleanor Roosevelt challenged us to do one thing every day that scares us.

Ascending into Amherst from the Mack Hill side for the last leg of the race scares me. Running without walking from the Town Hall to the finish line took all my mettle. Crossing the line and having the boss put a ribbon and medal around my neck wasn’t fun because I was nauseous and even a little dizzy.

But 30 seconds later I was fine and three days later I am ready to sign up for next year. I will practice for that one.

Three of us ready to run for the American flag and our veterans
Maybe my time would have been better if I didn’t take pictures along the way, but this image of Carolyn and Angela leading me home had to be captured.

Amherst Label is proud to be Veteran-owned, family-owned and committed to green printing practices. Ask us for details.