sja4.jpgSpc. Steven Soria, paralegal at the Fort Jackson Office of the Staff Judge Advocate runs in the Fort Jackson 2020 Virtual Run/Walk for the Fallen, Sept. 11. In honor of Gold Star Family Members and Soldiers who have lost their lives fighting in the Global War on Terrorism. (Photo by Veran Hill)

By Veran Hill                                                                                                                                                                                                       Fort Jackson Public Affairs

For the past 10 years, Soldiers, civilians and veterans have gathered on Fort Jackson to run in honor of South Carolina Soldiers who have lost their lives fighting in the Global War on Terrorism.

The installation continued the event virtually since social distancing made a mass run unfeasible.

Making the best out of the pandemic, the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, with Army Community Service as the lead, hosted the 2020 Virtual Run/Walk for the Fallen, Sept 11.

“While adhering to social distancing guidelines, Fort Jackson will honor our South Carolina fallen Soldiers who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Marilynn Bailey, Army Volunteer Corps program manager, and coordinator for the event.

The event provided the Fort Jackson community an opportunity to share their run or walk with a photo or video post onto the ACS Facebook page. All participants had to do was post the photo or video with #RunForTheFallen and it was shared on the ACS Facebook page.

The virtual run/walk kicked-off with a Facebook live-stream opening ceremony.

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Rodie Lamb, deputy garrison chaplain, provided an invocation to kick off the event while Brig. Gen. Milford “Beags” Beagle, Jr, Army Training Center and Fort Jackson Commander gave some brief remarks.

“There is no greater honor than to recognize those who’ve given their lives while protecting and defending our country,” Beagle said. “We remember our fallen Soldiers and we recognize the lost, pain, and suffering the survivors have endured. As survivors, you are a vital part of the nation’s military community and history, and have our continued gratitude and respect,” he said.

More than 570 participants registered to run or walk wearing a runners bib with the name of a South Carolina Soldier killed in action. They ran or walked in staggered formations, two-by-two, and alone to remember the fallen.

Paola Barnes, Gold Star Family member ran 3.2 miles, in honor of her husband Sgt.1st Class Sean Barnes. Barnes said her husband served 22 years in the Army and it is difficult to discuss losing him.

“These runs are so important because my husband is not forgotten,” Barnes added. “I know my husband is being remembered and honored when others and I run.”

Sept.11 marked 19 years since Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda coordinated a series of terrorist attacks against the United States, killing 2,977 people making it the deadliest attack on U.S. soil. The Global War on Terrorism was launched because of the attacks,

Lamb said we need to remember our military comrades who fought and paid the ultimate price by giving their lives because “they gave their lives as a sacrifice in defense of freedom, the Global War on Terrorism, and to protect this great nation.”