Running for the Fallen
This morning I had the honor of joining the Run for the Fallen team as they ran from Oak Ridge, Tennessee to Clinton and beyond. Run for the Fallen departed Fort Irwin, California on Flag Day (June 14th) and is running one mile for each of the 4,080 U.S. service members who have given their last full measure of devotion in nurturing the fledgling democracy in Iraq. They will arrive at Arlington National Cemetary on August 24th.
Run for the Fallen has no political affiliation (in fact, they openly refuse it). Rather, they run "... to raise awareness about the lives of those who fought, to activate their memories and keep their spirits alive, to support organizations that help wounded veterans and the families of those killed (Wounded Warrior Project, Yellow Ribbon Fund, HUGSS (Helping Unite Gold Star Survivors), and the 1st Lt. Michael J. Cleary Memorial Fund), and to aid the healing process for those Americans whose lives have been affected by the war."
This morning, at 7:00am, Carl Sexton (President of the Roadkill Running Club in Oak Ridge) and I met the team in the parking lot of our local Doubletree Hotel. Several other Oak Ridge notables also came to show their support, including Matt Kaye (Oak Ridge native and President & CEO of EOD Technology Inc.) shown here talking with Run for the Fallen founder Jon Bellona:
It was a beautiful day in East Tennessee for a run, with temperatures in the low-80s F. and a slight breeze from the north. Carl and I ran with Eric Janes from Breckinridge, Colorado, from the east end of Oak Ridge into the nearby town of Clinton (county seat of Anderson County and the original namesake of the "Secret City's" efforts in support of the Manhattan Project).
During our run, from Mile 3,268 to Mile 3,272, we honored the following:
Specialist Ryan S. Dallam, U.S. Army:
PFC Daniel A. Fuentes, U.S. Army:
CPT Anthony J. Palermo, Jr., U.S. Army:
And PFC Damian Lopez Rodriguez, U.S. Army:
All of these soldiers (CPT Palermo, SPC Dallam and PFC Rodriguez assigned to 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division; PFC Fuentes of 1st Bn, 28th Regiment, 4th IBCT, 1st Infantry Division) died on April 6th, 2007 in Baghdad when improvised explosive devices (IEDs) detonated near their vehicles during combat operations.
Rest in peace, men.