VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — On Thursday, a small group of runners will gather at Fort Story and make the 250-mile journey to Arlington National Cemetery to take part in Run for the Fallen.
The event helps honor service members who died serving our country. George Lutz founded the Honor and Remember organization about 14 years ago, a group that puts on the event. “I went on a mission of remembrance to start an organization nationally that would recognize every service member in the history of our country,” he said.
Run for the Fallen takes four days.
Participants begin at Fort Story at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, May 2, and run through Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News and Gloucester.
Along the route, runners stop at more than 700 markers. Each marker honors a Virginia service member who has died since the 2000 USS Cole bombing.
“Often times the families are actually on the side of the road at their loved one’s marker, waiting for us. So the moment we get there, to honor them and call their loved one’s name out loud, just for a few seconds is so important to them,” Lutz said.
Runners continue to Arlington National Cemetery and finish the journey about 1 p.m. Sunday, May 5.
For Lutz, this journey is personal. His son, Corporal George A. Lutz II is on marker number seven. He died when a sniper’s bullet hit him in Iraq 14 years ago.
“To have the citizens around the area come out and stand with those families or stand in a place where there isn’t a family, it means the world to keep those memories alive.”