By Mr. Devin L Fisher (IMCOM)August 27, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo.-Julie Rosenberg had butterflies in her stomach as she drove to the Run for the Fallen Aug. 21 at Ironhorse Park, an annual event to honor Fort Carson Soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
"And then as soon as I get here (the event) just brings a smile to my face," said Rosenberg, who helped organize the first Run for the Fallen at Fort Carson in 2008 to honor all Mountain Post Soldiers who lost their lives on the battlefield, to include her husband, Maj. Mark Rosenbert, who served with 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Rosenberg said her brother-in-law told her about the national Run for the Fallen, where a group of runners ran from Fort Irwin, Calif., to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
"I decided to get some friends together and walk (in their honor) and word got out and traveled and here we are today," Rosenberg said.
Donning shirts with images of fallen Soldiers and messages to include "in memory of my daddy" and "in honor of my hero," more than 1,500 participated in the initial walk at Fort Carson, more than 2,000 last year and more than 1,000 this year.
The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation offers the event in an effort to join Families, Soldiers and community members to remember and celebrate our fallen heroes, said Ann Edinger, DFMWR special events coordinator.
Saturday marked the second Run for the Fallen event for Sgt. Zach Crawford, 4th Engineer Battalion, who walked to honor his fallen comrade, Spc. Eric Lembke who was killed during the unit\'s last deployment.
"It means a lot (to participate) ... just to honor the guys that have fallen with us and served with us ... to keep their name going," he said.
To date, 306 Fort Carson Soldiers have lost their lives on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rosenberg said the Gold Star Families are fortunate that Fort Carson has a supportive community.
"We don't ever want to add to our group, but thank God (the community is) there, because they are the ones who get us through the hard times," she said.
She said seeing others gather to honor the fallen helps the healing process of the fallen Soldiers' Families.
"Having your Soldier remembered is important," Rosenberg said. "We'll always remember our Soldier, but we want to make sure that everybody else remembers (their sacrifice too)."
She said the one-mile course, of which most participants walked, was symbolic of the struggles Gold Star Families face. She said the starting line may be the starting point of one's grief and the finish line is like a light at the end of tunnel.
"It's one more thing that I have accomplished; one more thing I can put behind me and say, 'I did it and I am surviving.'" Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, addressed the participants prior to the walk.
"It's appropriate that we come out here today as part of a small piece of the entire nation honoring those who have fallen," he said. Perkins noted there are many memorials around Fort Carson honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the nation, from the Mountain Post Warrior Memorial near the front gate, to unit memorials and even buildings names after fallen heroes.
"Probably the greatest sign of what those who have served mean and the greatest tribute, biggest monument, to them are our national colors," he said, noting Soldiers have fought for the country for the last 235 years. He said the Families of the fallen, those currently serving and have served, and members of the community who support the Soldiers and their Families are "probably the most appreciative of what those who have fallen have done for our nation because we know more than anybody else what it is our nation asks (of us)."
The general thanked all who have served the nation. "The greatest tribute to all of you who have served and those who have fallen is the fact that we are still the greatest nation on earth because of what has happened the past 235 years by those who have served," Perkins said.