Woke up this morning, put on my running shoes, and hit the pavement. Being away from home and not near any organized run, I ran alone, but the solitude felt peaceful and the morning was brisk. I hearkened back during my three mile run to college and to Mike before he joined the Army. I recalled other good friends and our shared moments together. And then to how we, last summer, ran across the country for all the Fallen.

It is hard for me to describe last summer without pointing out that it was a shared experience, and traveled deeply into my heart. This is why it is hard to write about. As soon as I begin to write about one emotion, another leaps up to take its place. When I write about one memory, it seems as if another could be the same, a shared memory 50 miles down the road, or another or another and so on. Each moment was unique, yet each shared an intrinsic quality that I would define, as love. Love of our family, love of our friends, love of our community surrounding us. Love for those we miss deeply in our hearts. Love for those who shaped us, and in turn for those whom we continue to teach and inspire.

I know that if you are involved in a run across the country this weekend: Pinckneyville, Illinois; Run for the Fallen Maine; Bloomer, Wisconsin; these same hard-to-describe feelings will usher themselves in. And in that moment, in that time of your run, you will understand what I try to describe. Because you will know. You will feel it better than I do.

I don’t claim to know much at all, but I do feel something strongly in my heart. And that is what I choose to follow. That is running to remember.

So thank you for running. Thank you bringing this together. It is through you that we all succeed. For love, for honor, for the times in which we will never forget.

Jon Bellona, Director Run for the Fallen