FORT HOOD — Hundreds of soldiers and community members took part in the installation’s fifth annual Remembrance 5K Run/Walk on Saturday at III Corps’ Sadowski Field to honor fallen service members who have lost their lives since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

The event featured boots with identification tags lined up along the running route to memorialize each of the 7,768 soldiers who never returned home from service deployments during the Global War on Terror.

The boots will be on display through July 8.

“I can’t think of any finer way to start our Fourth of July activities than coming together as a community to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” III Corps deputy commander Maj. Gen. J.T. Thomson said. “As we all know, freedom isn’t free ... it never has been and never will be.”

Freedom isn’t free was the theme of the event, hosted by Fort Hood’s Office of Welfare, Morale, and Recreation.

“We come together at moving events like this, not only to honor their sacrifice but also to support each other.” Thomson said.

The event served as on opening to Independence Day celebrations to occur around Fort Hood during the coming days.

Lined up along the route, the boots were often found in groups which represented those who had lost their lives serving together as a unit and included memorials to 59 dogs which died during wartime service. Fort Hood soldiers, since 2003, have served honorably during the Global War on Terror — with more than 5,900 wounded in action from Fort Hood units, according to Chris Haug, Fort Hood’s chief of media relations.

The winner of the event was Belton High School student, Brysin Minosky, 17, who completed the event in 18 minutes, 17 seconds.

“I wanted to run to honor my grandfather, Lt. Col. Sephus Lee Roupe,” Minosky said. “I’ve been doing it for the last three years.”

Minosky, who runs track and cross-country at Belton High School also participates in the JROTC program.

Others spoke of the importance of the event.

“It’s important to honor your fallen comrades,” Lakisha Coles, 38, of Killeen, said.

Coles is active in the military community and has authored works in the “Camouflaged Sisters” series.

According to Amber Williams, a fitness instructor with UnderKunstructionBootCamp, “We’re all here to support the soldiers ... most of us here are veterans.”

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