Over 300 participants come together at the Fort Novosel Veterans Memorial Park for Ruck to Remember with the Survivor Outreach Services on Feb. 10, 2024.
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Fort Novosel service members gather at Veterans Memorial Park for Ruck to Remember with Survivor Outreach Services on Feb. 10,2024.
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Fort Novosel Survivor Outreach Services coordinator, Lee Richards, speaks to the crowd at Ruck to Remember at Veterans Memorial Park on Feb. 10, 2024.
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FORT NOVOSEL, Ala. -- Over 300 people participated in the Ruck to Remember event hosted by the Fort Novosel Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) program on Feb. 10, 2024.

Soldiers, spouses, civilians, pets, retirees, and survivors came out to honor fallen service members by carrying bricks across Fort Novosel. Participants had the choice of rucking the 5K, 10K or 20K distance and choosing the amount of weight they were willing to carry as a symbol of sacrifice. SOS Coordinator, Lee Richards, reminded the crowd that it was not a race, but in fact, something much more.

“It is up to you how many bricks you are willing to carry today. If you want to carry one brick that is fine, or twelve bricks is fine too. Carrying the weight is what this event is about. It’s not a race and there is no clock. Today is about our physical sacrifice to honor their sacrifice [fallen service members],” said Richards.

Amongst the participants were many survivors of local fallen service members. Richards encouraged the crowd to keep in mind who was rucking alongside them on the course.

“We have daughters carrying their fathers. Mothers carrying their sons. Siblings carrying their sibling. We have even more out here that are going to be penciling in their battle buddies. Remember that as well.”

All three courses originated at the Fort Novosel Veterans Memorial Park and, although following individual routes, concluded at the Spiritual Life Center.

“You’re going to start the course, load up your bricks and engage in your route. When you get to the end, you’re going to take your pack off and unload your bricks. The weight is going to leave your shoulders,” said Richards. “When these survivors go home though, that burden is never lifted. When you take that weight off think of the survivors here and the ones that are not here. That weight is never lifted for them.”

USAACE Command Sgt. Maj. Kirk Coley and Fort Novosel Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Williams honor the fallen during Ruck to Remember on Fort Novosel on Feb. 10,  2024.
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Warrant Officer Candidates volunteer to load bricks into ruck sacks for Ruck to Remember on Fort Novosel on Feb. 10,2024.
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Survivor Outreach Services personnel wrapped and labeled hundreds of bricks for participants to carry during Ruck to Remember at Fort Novosel on Feb. 12, 2024.
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Ruck to Remember participants write names on bricks to honor the fallen at Fort Novosel on Feb. 10, 2024.
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Fort Novosel Garrison Chaplain (Maj.) Scott Kennis prayed over the event and reminded the crowd that our country’s freedom comes at a cost.

“Lord, we thank you for the opportunity to reflect on those individuals that gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we could stand out here today and enjoy our freedom. As we ruck along this path and see American flags on the streets, let’s remember the freedom and privilege that we have in this country and why,” prayed Kennis.

All three routes came together ending with stacks of pancakes and stacks of bricks at the Spiritual Life Center. The pancakes were served by volunteers from Fort Novosel’s Wings Chapel and bricks served by the community who rucked together, to remember.

Volunteers help stack bricks at the finish line of Ruck to Remember on Fort Novosel on Feb. 10, 2024.
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John and Martha Stoltz, Wings Chapel volunteers, serve pancakes to participants of the Ruck to Remember event at Fort Novosel on Feb. 10, 2024.
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