News 12 This Morning / Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012
FORT GORDON, Ga. -- It was an emotional morning Thursday at Fort Gordon as every branch of the military came out to run the final lap of the Tribute to the Fallen. It has been going on at Fort Gordon 24 hours a day for the past 10 days.
Service members ran a 3-mile lap on Barton Field for over 200 hours. It was all to remember the 1,485 service members who have lost their lives fighting for our freedom in the Middle East.
"We're showing our tribute to the Marines that have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Sgt. Joseph Leugers with the United States Marine Corps.
Over 1,400 miles in total around Barton field on Fort Gordon for the eighth annual Tribute to the Fallen.
"We're running one lap for every three Marines or sailors," Leugers said.
Carrying memories in their hearts and rounds of ammunition in their hands.
"At the end of the tribute we're actually going to do a 21-round salute and we're carrying those rounds throughout the entire tribute run," he said.
It's something they say is difficult to put together.
"It's not a fun process to go through and find who's died in Iraq and Afghanistan," Leugers said. "Going through and updating that roster, making sure that everybody is accounted for, getting time slots written down."
It's hard work, but in the end, it's extremely rewarding.
"This is actually the first tribute run that I had the privilege of being a part of and coordinating for that matter, so when I actually sat down and took it all in, it was a little overwhelming at first to see what it was I was supporting, but it's something I have a lot of pride in now," he said.
It's something that hits home for the guys running each lap.
"Having spent time in the sandbox you know what it's like over there and giving the opportunity to actually honor the Marines and sailors that have died over there, it's a big deal," Leugers said.