The Third Annual Watermelon Run For The Fallen will be held in Hempstead, TX on August 18, 2012.
Watermelon Run For The Fallen – Saturday 18 August 2012
Supported by the City of Hempstead, Hempstead Independent School District, City of Hempstead, United States Army, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, Texas Army National Guard, Texas Fallen Heroes Traveling Wall sponsored by the Texas Military Order of the Purple Heart, Houston FAA, Houston Chapter, First Marine Division Association, Inc., Freedom Flight, special unit of police & professional sky-divers, active and reserve military units manning static displays of military equipment and citizens from Texas and other states.
No commercial activity & no fundraising allowed … this is a solemn honor event and it is open to the public at no charge … all patriotic entertainment and refreshments are provided at no cost to the public
Note: the only charge will be a $20.00 entry fee for the 5k run to cover event costs … residual cash remaining above costs will be distributed to 501c military support organizations minus seed funds for the 2013 event.
Tentative Schedule of Events
0600: Begin Set-up at Hempstead HS Football Field/Track
0630: Participants welcomed
0645: Registration of 5k participants at Hempstead High School Football Field/Track
0730: Opening prayer followed by Old Glory raised by an Army Ranger while the National Anthem is played. Hempstead Fire Department will display criss cross water cannons.
At conclusion of the National Anthem, a 20 minute performance of multi-aircraft precision formations air show by Freedom Flight (Flight Lead is Col. Sam Ward, USAF, Ret., Vietnam F-4 driver supported by other experienced airline and combat pilots including one “ThunderThud Driver” with a MIG kill) – the last formation will be the Missing Man
Swearing-in of Army recruits by BGen Henry Ostermann, USA, Ret. (tentative)
0755: Professional civilian and police unit Skydivers carrying the American flag land on the football field. Lead skydiver will be Jay Stokes who holds the world record for most skydives in a 24 hour period.
0800: Division of Navy T-45 Goshawk from Kingsville Naval Air Station, Training Air Wing Two (four jets) execute flyover (if operational tempo permits)
0801: Gold Star families & injured Warriors in Transition from Brooke Army Medical Center lead the runners and participants around the track followed by 5k runners starting
their run with the American flag in the lead held by an Army Ranger
Muster at the Hempstead Memorial and Gazebo following completion of the 5k run (5k ends at Memorial)
Patriotic music provided by The Ziggy Moonshine Band until all participants in the 5k run muster at the Gazebo/Memorial
Display of Texas Fallen Heroes Memorial Traveling Wall
Display Artist Ken Pridgeon renditions of fallen Texans
Old Glory & Texas flags brought to half mast for the Missing Man Ceremony & Roll Call
Missing Man Ceremony at Gazebo/Memorial
Brief address to the crowd by a senior Officer
Reading of the Roll Call of every Texan killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom I & II, Operation Enduring Freedom at Gazebo/Memorial (reading begun by Commandant Amos or designee and followed by other invited dignitaries)
Old Glory & Texas flags brought to full following the conclusion of the Roll Call
Release of helium-filled balloons with a photo and brief bio of each fallen Texan attached.
Formal honor memorial event concluded at the end of the release of the balloons with a photo of each fallen Texan attached
Continued viewing of static military displays provided for the public by Marine, Army and Army National Guard units following conclusion of the reading of the roll call
Free, live patriotic music provided for the crowd at the conclusion of the release of the balloons. Music by Country Music Performer Darby Ledbetter and The Band of Brothers, (Darby is a now Warrant Officer in the National Guard and when he was on active duty in the Army, he served 5 combat tours in Southwest Asia).
Announce Free BBQ and refreshments at conclusion of Roll Call and start of music by Darby Ledbetter … key challenge is keeping folks around for Darby’s entertainment.