U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis, left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier, right, lead more than 500 Soldiers and trainees to the finish line of the 2021 5K Run/Walk for the Fallen. The annual event held at Hilton Field fell on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis, left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier, right, lead more than 500 Soldiers and trainees to the finish line of the 2021 5K Run/Walk for the Fallen. The annual event held at Hilton Field fell on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. (Photo Credit: Alexandra Shea) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Jackson Basic Combat Trainees take their first steps during the annual 5K Run/Walk for the Fallen on Sept. 11, 2021. More than 1,000 Soldiers, trainees, veterans, civilians and Gold Star Family members attend the event  and many wore bibs bearing the rank and names of Soldiers killed in action since Sept. 11, 2001.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Fort Jackson Basic Combat Trainees take their first steps during the annual 5K Run/Walk for the Fallen on Sept. 11, 2021. More than 1,000 Soldiers, trainees, veterans, civilians and Gold Star Family members attend the event and many wore bibs bearing the rank and names of Soldiers killed in action since Sept. 11, 2001. (Photo Credit: Alexandra Shea) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy cadre finish the Fort Jackson 5K Run/Walk for the Fallen on Hilton Field. The annual event honors and remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice while on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001. The event fell on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy cadre finish the Fort Jackson 5K Run/Walk for the Fallen on Hilton Field. The annual event honors and remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice while on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001. The event fell on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (Photo Credit: Alexandra Shea) VIEW ORIGINAL

Fort Jackson’s Hilton Field was alive with the sounds of drill sergeants and trainees singing cadence. What would normally be a sleepy Saturday morning buzzed with activity as more than 1,000 Soldiers, trainees, civilians, Gold Star Families and local community members gathered Sept. 11 at the field in anticipation of the annual 5K Run/Walk for the Fallen.

“I’m here with my friend for the memorial run,” said Sgt. Jessica Sanchez, assigned to the 194th Armored Brigade, Fort Benning, Georgia, and attending Advanced Leaders Course at Fort Jackson.

Sanchez’s workout gear included athletic pants, moisture wicking tech shirt and a bib containing the handwritten name of Spc. Travis Rivers of the 25th Infantry Division, Hawaii.

“He served in the military after 9/11,” she said. “Unfortunately he was killed in action in the Middle East. It feels good running and serving in his memory.”

Sanchez wasn’t alone in her quest to honor the fallen. Roughly 500 trainees attending Basic Combat Training at the installation wore similar bibs bearing the names of Soldiers who called South Carolina home and died on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.

“Today we commemorate the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 and the attacks that occurred in New York City, the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania,” said U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis. “Today we honor the memories of the souls lost on Sept. 11 and pay tribute to all the patriots and families who sacrificed their lives in the defense of freedom.”

Five Gold Star Families attended the event to remember their Soldier, share their story of loss, celebrate a life gone too soon, and help each other heal from their loss.

“They get to network with each other,” said Marilynn Bailey, Army Community Service Specialist and event coordinator. “Sometimes they need that comradery within that group to continue to heal. They get to talk about things and I’m sure it helps the grieving and healing process.”

The Gold Star Families and those like Sanchez wearing hand written bib names that signified a personally known fallen Soldier watched as more than 500 trainees from the 165th Infantry Brigade and Soldier Support Institute ran in formation to remember their friends, Family members and South Carolina fallen Soldiers.

“I think one of the important things about healing in any crisis is the opportunity to tell your story and in this weird way of this run, just putting a name on our chest or showing up, it’s an opportunity for those survivors and those in these units to tell their story which is a healing event,” said Maj. Jacob Black of the 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception). “I had an opportunity today to run for Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jake Sims. It was an honor to run for him and his wife Felicia and their kids. With all the mitigations, this was no easy task. I think it was a success.”

As the runners and walkers closed in at the end of the route, they were treated to cheers and high fives from Michaelis and Post Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier.

Fresh fruit, water and energy drinks were offered as attendees regrouped with their friends and families to fellowship together before leaving the field.

“This is the largest turnout I have seen since I’ve been here,” Bailey said. “The participation from the battalions, trainees and Soldiers has been great. The support has been wonderful.”