Run for the Fallen

  • Susan and Dick Weikert, parents of Staff Sergeant Matthew Weikert, stand along the run path.
  • The runners shown above were the group that ran in Staff Sergeant Matthew Weikert

By Paige Lambie

Photo/Special to The Source Newspaper

America’s Run for The Fallen is one of the most comprehensive fallen military tributes ever to exist, honoring the nearly 20,000+ Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that have lost their lives since the start of the War on Terror, no matter the circumstance of their death. It is a tribute trail, ran across the nation- 6,100 miles, 19 states in 120 days. The Trail began in Fort Irwin, California on April 7, 2018 and ends at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on August 5.

On Memorial Day 2008 in Norfolk, Virginia, the Honor and Remember Flag was publicly unveiled to become a nationally recognized symbol of remembrance. This flag was created to become a reminder to all Americans of the high price we have paid for America’s freedom. It serves as a representation for all generations of fallen heroes from all wars, branches of service and all causes of death while serving. Three weeks later a team of runners participated in the first Run for the Fallen, running 4,100 miles across America in remembrance of the 3,800 service members that had lost their lives since the War on Terror bagan. During the course of these events the two founders of these organizations met and realized their goals were the same. In 2014 the founders of both the Honor and Remember Organization and flag and also Run for the Fallen officially merged and have since been dedicated to growing their mission of paying tribute to all the fallen heroes and their families.

Before the start of the run, volunteers mark each mile with an American flag and a biographical sign card in reflection of each life lost. Every mile is dedicated to individual heroes and their families, based on the chronological order of their death, beginning with the deaths of the USS Cole bombing on October 12, 2000. Since the first run, runners from around the world have joined, over 50,000 participants and over 200,000 miles have been ran in total. There are rotating teams of 400 active duty military personnel as well as civilians that come together to complete this run. Each relay team carries a full size American flag, an Honor and Remember flag and an Honor and Sacrifice flag, along with hero information. The teams stop at every one-mile interval where the hero markers have been placed, they call out each name, and deliver a small tribute for waiting Gold Star families and friends. The teams run 50 miles per day and end each day with a ceremony at their planned stopping points.

This year’s, five-month, 6,100-mile run is the 10-year anniversary of the tribute trail. The run will go through California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. On June 14-20 the team of runners ran through Illinois.

Local heroes that are being honored include:

SSg Matthew Weikert of Jacksonville, Illinois, mile 22 of day 74, in Illinois

SSg Joshua David Powell of New Berlin, Illinois, mile 31 of day 75, in Indiana

Sgt Andrew Tobin of Jacksonville, Illinois, mile 37 of day 82, in Indiana

For more information, you can go to www.runforthefallen.org or watch a live feed (and all past live feeds) at http://heroes.runforthefallen.org/show-run-location (days and miles are subject to change as more names are added to the list).

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