Online Staff Report
CHARLESTON, Ill. — The fourth “Run for the Fallen” in memory of Illinois military men and women who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq is planned for Aug. 17 at Charleston High School’s Trojan Hill.
People are invited to run or walk a mile in memory of one of the more than 250 Illinois residents who have died serving their country in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The event is scheduled for 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Charleston High School track. Participants may run or walk their mile any time in that period.
Each walker/runner will receive a card bearing a photo and biographical information about an Illinois resident who has died while serving in one of the two theaters of conflict. The cards will be distributed at the event. Participation is free.
“People have really responded to the call to honor our fallen soldiers,” said Vivian Bales of Charleston, one of the sponsors. “Our sole purpose is to remember and honor the sacrifice of so many soldiers and their families.”
At last year’s event, more than 700 people came from the area and across the state to run or walk a mile for a fallen Illinois soldier.
Information and registration is available at www.charlestonillinois.org. From the home page, click on the 2013 Run for the Fallen icon. Print, complete and return the waiver form to the Charleston Parks and Recreation Department. If you want to walk for a specific soldier, note that on the waiver form.
Participants are asked to report to the check-in tent, pick up a card with a soldier’s photo and information, then walk or run a mile in that soldier’s honor. After finishing the mile, each walker or runner can ring the large bell and place an American flag in the south end zone.
Vivian Bales (217-549-0117 or firstname.lastname@example.org), Carolyn Cloyd, Bill and Cheryl Lair (217-345-9580 or email@example.com) and the Charleston Parks and Recreation Department are sponsoring the run/walk in conjunction with the national “Run for the Fallen” program.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1592 Ladies Auxiliary is providing small American flags for people to place in the end zone at Trojan Hill in memory of the fallen service members. State Sen. Dale Righter has contributed water for all participants. The Mattoon High School JROTC drill team plans to perform and the Charleston VFW Post 1592 Honor Guard will conduct a solemn service in honor of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
In addition, participants can view photos and information about all the fallen Illinois soldiers in the “wall of honor.”
The local Run for the Fallen committee also recently received this poem from William Lawrence Kraemer and Michael McGlynn, two veterans from New Jersey, regarding the Illinois Run for the Fallen event:
I’m here at Charleston High to pay homage to your name.
I see Gold Star Families crying, their pride can’t ease the pain.
The sun is now rising on the horizon; a new day has begun.
One that will be filled with promise as you and I begin to run.
I’ll run with you my fallen comrades with others from all around.
To honor and remember your sacrifice was so profound.
It’s a long journey, yet there will be a tribute in every stride.
For you will be my inspiration as your spirit runs by my side.
Running along the Tribute Trail I can hear your family’s cheers.
They’re for you my fallen comrades and so are all their tears.
Passing by a grateful nation, I see their pride begin to swell.
Reaffirming my belief the American Spirit is alive and well.
Farewell my fallen comrades you were beside me from the start.
Your memories are in my thoughts, your sacrifice in my heart.
I’m humbled by your presence and honored to be here too.
Next year I’ll be back at Charleston High to run again with you.
Posted Aug. 15, 2013