I am going to start participating more in these runs and events.
Those who came out to run or walk greeted family members of the fallen along the 12-mile loop at special memorials set up for each soldier. Many of the participants stopped at each memorial to embrace the family members and thank them for their sacrifice.
For Joan Gowell and her family, Sunday was the first time they took part in such an event. Gowell's brother, Army Maj. James W. Dennehy of Salisbury, died last August from a pulmonary thromboembolism, a blockage caused by a blood clot that becomes lodged in a vein. Its cause, deep vein thrombosis, likely began during his flight home from his recent duty in Kuwait. Gowell said her brother left behind 12 children, some who ran Sunday. Gowell said her family met the other military families last week at the Sept. 11 ceremony in Hampton and greeted even more families Sunday.
Sunday was also the first time Anita Schwed took part in the run. Schwed's son, Army Spc. Dana Hirth of Nashua, died in May. He had served in Afghanistan. Marcia McLaughlin and Karen Thurston were running in honor of a family member currently serving in the Army National Guard and said they like to show support for military families who have experienced loss.
Thurston, president of the Blue Star Mothers of New Hampshire, said it's important for military families to stick together. McLaughlin said it's important to have a support system in place because you never know when you might need it. Mclaughin stated in the article that, "You never know if that phone call is coming," she is so right. I wonder how many of us know this and just tuck it away but it is always there in the back of your mind.
Event organizers said more than 200 family members of fallen soldiers and 250 runners participated in this year's event. Event co-organizer Fran Lefavour said the Run for the Fallen is truly an unique event because it is sponsor- and volunteer-driven. The organizers don't ask runners to pay or fund raise, the organizers simply do it for the families; they want to recognize them.