Running in honor of those who have fallen

18 Oct 2004 | Lance Cpl. Christopher Sam Vega

Runners slowly started to gather in the mist of the cold, as the sun slowly rose overhead. Individuals started to stretch and prepare for the morning run.

However, this run was different than any other. These runners weren't doing this to keep in shape or because they needed the physical training, they where doing it in memory of fallen servicemembers.

October 16 marked the annual Beirut Memorial 10 kilometer Run and Walk at Camp Johnson. The run was put together for servicemembers and their families to show their support and respect for those who had fallen in Beirut, Lebanon.

In the early morning of Oct. 23, 1983, the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment Headquarters Building was destroyed by a non-Lebanese, terrorist-driven truck, filled with compressed gas-enhanced explosives.

The explosion resulted in the collapse of the building, killing 241 Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers. Many victims of the tragedy were residents of Jacksonville, therefore making the hit close to home for many Eastern Carolina residents.

The run started at 8:00 a.m. in front of the Camp Johnson gymnasium, and included music to help relax the runners and morning foods, such as bagels and fruits.

The Semper Fit organization was there to show support and to pass tips to help the runner's performance.

A variety of different runners participated in the event, ranging from mothers with baby carriages to motivated Marines wearing green physical training gear. All of them were there because they wanted to keep the memories of those who had fallen alive.