"Today is about celebration and remembering what they stood for and how they answered the call of duty to this great nation," said Brig. Gen. John "Pete" Johnson Fort Jackson's commander moments before leading the 2016 Run for the Fallen.Hundreds of Fort Jackson community members joined together Aug. 13 at Hilton Field to pay homage to the Service members of South Carolina who died while serving the United States with a 5K run/walk.The run was special because it wasn't about competition, but rather remembrance, one post official said."I think this is a great event to honor those Families who have given the greatest sacrifice for our nation," said Marilynn Bailey, Fort Jackson's volunteer coordinator. "It's not a competition run, but an honor run. It is special in my eyes. It brings light, it sheds a light (on those who have fallen) because all of these Soldiers represent a fallen Service member from South Carolina."Soldiers ran with the names of fallen Service members on their running bibs.The run, set up by Fort Jackson's Survivor Outreach Services, was the sixth of its kind.Johnson welcomed the Gold Star families to the run with a warm handshake and through a speech to open the run."First and foremost, I really want to give a heartfelt welcome to the surviving families of the fallen from this great state of South Carolina," he said."This tradition started in 2008 when a team of patriots started out from Fort Irwin, California across this great nation, and every mile leaving a marker representing one of the fallen Service members during the Global War of Terror," Johnson added. "They went from Fort Irwin to Arlington Cemetery here on East Coast."Those who gave their lives in defense of the nation "means a whole lot to all of us. We can never fully understand what that means to the families represented here today," Johnson said. "When we have a fallen serviceman it surely has an impact on our team, but for the families it changes their world. The world as they know it never remains the same and they grieve -- and we care about that.
"This run is just a small token of our appreciation for their service, but more importantly it is a reflection on every serviceman who is in uniform. We also must remember that today we have servicemen across this globe who are in harm's way. I want you to keep them in your hearts and prayers because they also have loved ones that are caring about them and thinking about them every single day."For those running, walking or just attending the event remembering the sacrifices of others was not the only reason to attend.For retiree Angel Tirado passing on his love of supporting Service member causes to his daughter caused him to walk."As retired military, I support all events that have to do with the military," Tirado said. "I am encouraging my daughter, Kattlie, to do the same. I encouraged her to join the service and she recently joined the Navy.Ben Stewart, who was at the event with the Patriot Guard Riders of South Carolina, said he was proud to be at the event because it "shows support for our fallen, lifts the spirits of those who lost loved ones and is another way that we, as prior Service members, can serve our country."Just supporting the run was enough for some."It's an honor first of all and gives me a good feeling knowing that I gave a small part of me back to the Families of those who have lost a loved one," Bailey said about being involved with the run.