Ever wonder who’s standing next to you in your corral at the start line, or cheering you on when you’re about to give up during a race? As runners we all have a story, a motivation to run whether it’s a personal challenge, to stay fit, bond with friends, raise money for charity, or work through a difficult time.
Today’s post comes to us from wear blue member Major John “Eddie” Gray, U.S. Army, who will be running to remember at Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon & 1/2 Marathon on April 13th.
After meeting at Ft. Polk, my wife Dianne and Lisa [Hallett] collaborated on our next assignment, and soon Lisa’s husband John and I were reassigned to Ft. Lewis, WA together.
The following year, John took command, deployed, and left us with a list of what Lisa might need as her due date with Heidi drew near – it all went by too fast. Twenty-three days after their daughter was born, we lost John in combat. Lisa continued running, but now had a new purpose. Dianne was one of the first to join her. We moved to Ft. Bragg next, and our new unit had suffered recent casualties. Like so many other units here, we needed a way to memorialize our comrades. We shared John and Lisa’s story and people always asked us about our shirts. By that Memorial Day, the brigade was running for the fallen, the families, and those still fighting.
For me, John had many traits I wish I had, as a father, husband, and Army officer. Running for John, saying his name during the Circle of Remembrance, or seeing his name on my shirt, keeps that in perspective. It keeps John’s spirit and memories at the foremost of our life as a family. And wear blue reminds us that we should never take anything for granted.
wear blue: run to remember is a running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military. Join wear blue at Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh for a memorial mile at the 11 mile mark for the half marathon, and the 24 mile mark for full marathon. #WearBlue