Since Sept. 11, 2001 countless Soldiers and their Families have suffered the loss of loved ones and friends. They may be gone, but they are definitely not forgotten. Wear Blue: Run to Remember aims to ensure their memory lasts with every mile.
Kimberly Thompkins, MWR race director said, “Those names are actually submitted by members of our community and from the Fort Bragg installation. Family members and friends are encouraged to submit their fallen loved ones to the Wear Blue: Run to Remember organization. And they’re the ones who plant those signs and hold the flags for us.”
A nonprofit organization founded following the redeployment of 5-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, a unit that, while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, sustained a significant amount of combat losses and casualties, according to its website.
“During that deployment, a group of 5-2 wives and battalion support staff met weekly to run, seeking to create a support network for one another during this challenging and heartbreaking deployment. When the brigade returned, two of those Army wives and avid runners, Lisa Hallett and Erin O’Connor, turned this group into a nationwide vision that now helps thousands heal from and work through the more challenging aspects of military life during a time of war.”
Today, this group runs to honor all military members killed in the Global War on Terror and has evolved into a powerful network of active duty and retired service members, military Families, Wounded Warriors, Gold Star Families and community members. Runs are hosted every week, as well as during major events and marathons like the All American Marathon and Mike and Mike Half-Marathon taking place Sunday, March 25 starting at Festival Park in downtown Fayetteville.
They also host a national memorial event on Memorial Day.
Glorygrace Dickinson, a physical therapy assistant in Fayetteville, will run Sunday in remembrance of her husband, Staff Sgt. Michael Dickinson, killed in 2006 by a sniper in Iraq.
“For me, it’s a way of honoring his memory and letting everybody know that his memory still remains alive,” she told Gilbert Baez of WRAL during an interview.
More than 100 American flags will be carried and posters will stand during a one-mile stretch of the marathon on the All American Expressway. The Fort Bragg chapter of Wear Blue: Run to Remember has hosted a memorial mile as part of the All American Marathon since the race was created five years ago, according to The Fayetteville Observer.
Details of the weekly runs are shared publicly on the Fort Bragg chapter’s Facebook page. The group never charges for involvement in the organization.
For more information about the organization or to register to volunteer and how to get involved, you can visit the Wear Blue: Run to Remember website at www.wearbluetoremember.org.