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Mile of meaning honors military dead during Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Posted April 13

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— At Mile 11, runners in the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and 1/2 Marathon in Raleigh encountered an opportunity to pause amid the party to remember those who sacrificed their lives in the United States military.

The mile was lined with American flags, each bearing the name of a fallen service member. Volunteers with the Fort Bragg chapter of Wear Blue: Run to Remember cheered their neighbors and honored the sport that supports them in their grief.

Lisa Hallett started the group in Seattle after the death of her husband, Capt. John Hallett, who was killed on a mission in Afghanistan in 2009.

Hallett started running with spouses of other members of her husband's unit, and they found the activity gave purpose to each step they took.

"It was something tangible I could hold on to," she said. "When everything else was a mess, I could say, 'Today I ran a mile. I ran two miles,' and it kept growing." 

Hallett was joined by Wear Blue members from near and far rooting on their peers.

About 20 from the Fort Bragg group participated in Sunday's race. Jim Grissom, who lost his son, James, last year in Afghanistan, traveled from California to be a part of the combination of prayer service and pep rally.

"The fact that we can assemble and do these things – that freedom that we have was bought by these sacrifices," Grissom said. 

"To remember the people who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom is just a great thing."

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  • texasncgirl Apr 15, 10:09 a.m.

    The moment I saw the individual photos of fallen soldiers, I started getting misty eyed...but I lost it after I saw a runner who had stopped to hug one of the photos and sat sobbing with her friends surrounding her.... running through all the American flags...I started hiccuping from crying.

  • geoherb1 Apr 14, 11:30 a.m.

    I want to thank them for being there.

  • JennyB Apr 14, 8:42 a.m.

    This hit me hard when I was running the half. My husband was active duty and we know several personally that were KIA. I somewhat kept it together when running past the photos, but I lost it when I saw people holding the American flags and cheering us on.