Navy veteran is swimming from Mississippi headwaters to Gulf of Mexico

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A Navy combat veteran is hoping to become the first American to swim the entire length of the Mississippi River, an effort to raise awareness and support for those who have fought for their country.

Chris Ring, of Tennessee, began the 2,552-mile "Swim for their Sacrifice" Saturday, the 71st anniversary of D-Day, at Itasca State Park. He plans to swim about 16 miles per day in order to arrive in the Gulf of Mexico by Veteran's Day.

Ring is swimming to honor and bring awareness to those who have lost a loved one in the war on terror, the Duluth News Tribune notes, with the hope of connecting as many Gold Star families as possible.

“I’m not trying to set a record. I’m not trying to be the fastest person,” Ring said Saturday, according to the Duluth News Tribune. “It’s just more to connect and unite as many families as possible.”

When he completes the swim, he'll be the first American to do so, and only the second human in history, Legacies Alive, which is sponsoring Ring, says on its website.

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