Every time she passes memorials for fallen soldiers, Leslie Love feels a sense of sadness, followed by honor and pride.
Love looks forward to sharing that experience with others during Fort Hood’s inaugural Fallen, Never Forgotten Memorial Run at 8 a.m. May 3 at Cameron Field.
“I have participated in them on other installations and it is humbling and awe-inspiring to run in one of these,” said Love, senior spouse adviser for Survivor Outreach Services. “I have run beside moms and dads with their soldier’s face on their homemade T-shirts. I have walked beside a new widow who cried the entire race because other people wrote her husband’s name on their running bibs (and) she was worried no one would remember.”
During Fort Hood’s run, participants will pass four memorials on post and each runner’s bib includes a spot to write who they’re running in memory of. Even if someone wants to run, but doesn’t know any fallen soldier, Love encourages them to still participate by picking a name from the memorial wall.
“Sometimes people want to show their support for our troops but don’t know how. When you attend a memorial run, you remember that freedom is not free and there is a price for the way of life we live,” she said. “What a better way to say thank you than to come, write a soldier’s name on your running bib and run or walk in their honor.”
Love said running past the memorials is always personal.
“My husband was a cavalry squadron commander in Iraq and we had many soldiers that did not come home. ... I look forward to running past (the 4th Infantry Division Monument) knowing the soldiers of my husband’s previous unit fought bravely and selflessly,” she said. “It is the families of our fallen that are true examples of resiliency and strength.”