Article below from the Bayonet.
Soldiers, Families, Veterans honor fallen
Article by Nathan Deen
About 500 people, including Soldiers and their Families, gathered at Stewart-Watson Field Saturday as part of the Ranger Run for the Fallen to honor the memory of Soldiers killed in action.
Melissa Glasspoole, event coordinator and family readiness support assistant for the 75th Ranger Regiment, said the main focus of the event was to honor fallen Rangers within the regiment.
The event was inspired by the 2008 Run for the Fallen, in which a group of Soldiers ran 4,300 miles across the country — one mile for each fallen fighter since the war on terror began. A flag was planted at each mile marker along with a biography.
“They ask for people in the communities to do their own type of event to honor those fallen Soldiers,” Glasspoole said. “We’re honoring our 56 Rangers that have died … in the war on terror.”
But it wasn’t only the Rangers who were remembered Saturday. Glasspoole provided number cards, which allowed runners to write the name of the Soldier(s) they were remembering on it. Vincent Melillo, 93, one of Merill’s Mauraders, remembered the comrades he served with in World War II as he walked around the track at Stewart-Watson Field.
“They can write whatever Ranger or whatever Soldier — maybe it’s not a Ranger they want to honor — it’s open to anybody … we would not turn away anybody who wanted to honor a fallen Soldier,” Glasspoole said. Glasspoole said she hoped the event would honor the Families of the lost Soldiers.
Jay Bartholomees, executive officer of the 75th Ranger Regiment, ran in honor of Mike O’Neill, a Ranger he lost under his command while deployed to Afghanistan.
“It means a great deal,” Bartholomees said. “It’s a great reminder to all of us. The Ranger Regiment has been continuously engaged in combat operations for the last 10 years. It’s a bonding experience that we all share in terms of the sacrifice our units have made.”
Run for the Fallen began after friends and family members of Mike Cleary, who was killed in Iraq in 2005, decided to find a special way to honor him and all military personnel who have laid down their lives.
One of the Run for the Fallen’s original members, Ian Lawson, ran Saturday. Lawson, who is preparing to begin Ranger School, said he ran the first two weeks and the last 10 days of the run across the country in 2008. Lawson said he was amazed to see the passion of local communities honoring his friend Cleary and those like him.
So far in 2011, 24 localized Run for the Fallen events have been held across the country, according to the event’s website, blog.runforthefallen.org.
“It’s something we shouldn’t just do one summer and then let it go, Lawson said. “It’s something we need to constantly do.”