Monday is Memorial Day. It’s a day when we remember those who have died while serving in our country’s armed forces. Traditionally, the flag is raised to the top of the pole and then immediately lowered to half staff to honor the fallen, then at noon is raised to full staff again, symbolizing how those of us still living will continue to rise to fight for liberty and justice.
My family doesn’t have a flagpole to honor those who sacrificed their lives for us, but there is another way that we can show our gratitude, and all it requires is committing to dedicate a few miles to a fallen soldier.
It’s called Wear Blue: Run to Remember, and it’s probably the easiest way that you could make your Memorial Day a little more meaningful, even if you don’t know anyone who’s lost their life for our nation.
Here’s what you do: First, decide how many miles you want to dedicate to honor our fallen servicemen. Then, go to www.wearblueruntoremember.org and click the link to commit your miles. You can complete the miles however you choose – run, walk, bike, it doesn’t matter – you can even get them done on a treadmill! If you know someone who has lost their life in the line of duty you can enter their name as the person you’re completing your miles for, but if not they will email you the name of a fallen soldier. You can also explain why you chose to commit the number of miles you did – I chose to complete 4 miles because it’s going to force me to push myself harder than I normally do, which is what I know our military men and women do on a daily basis.
I received my email with the name of the serviceman I’m running for yesterday. His name is Riley Gallinger-Long, and he was a Navy Hospitalman assigned to work with the Marines as a medic in Afghanistan. He was killed on August 11, 2011 while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. He was 19 years old. The most amazing thing about this is that he was assigned to the exact same military base that I was born at.
I’m also going to be running in honor of my Great Uncle, Albert Stuart Simpson. He was serving in the Army when he died in Europe during World War II. I only just learned of my Great Uncle’s sacrifice, and I’m glad that I can add his name to my miles as well.
Wear Blue is hoping to reach 10,000 participants willing to commit any number of miles this Memorial Day. I hope that you’ll sign up, put on something blue, and join me in remembering our military men and women who have died serving us and our country.
PS – A huge thanks to my friend Carolyn, who told me about this event and also invited me to join in. She faithfully wears blue for every run she participates in, and inspires me to run for something more than myself. <3