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March For The Fallen
by U.S. Army Maj. Angela King-Sweigart - May 20, 2013

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FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. - More than 400 service members and civilians participated in the second 28-mile March for the Fallen, held April 28, 2013, at Fort Indiantown Gap. The event is held annually to raise awareness for service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.

April 28, 2013 - The Pennsylvania National Guard has lost 53 soldiers supporting global contingency operations since Sept. 11, 2001. The 28-mile march is held annually to honor all service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Army  photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Jones)
April 28, 2013 - The Pennsylvania National Guard has lost 53 soldiers supporting global contingency operations since Sept. 11, 2001. The 28-mile march is held annually to honor all service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Army  photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Jones)

Maj. Gen. Randall Marchi, Pennsylvania deputy adjutant general-Army, spoke at the opening ceremony about the sacrifice these service members made.

“These courageous individuals stood toe-to-toe with the enemy, offering themselves as shields for America to keep war from reaching our front door. Each of them knew what their duty was, but surely each of them also dreamed of coming home to the people they loved and the lives they cherished.”

Gold Star family members of some of the fallen from the Pennsylvania National Guard and other services were in attendance, and were recognized. Many of the families were appreciative for the remembrance event, which has grown from about 50 participants last year.

Kathy Andreas, mother of Pennsylvania Guard member, Spc. Derek Holland who was killed in an IED attack in 2008 was in attendance. “You can feel very alone in this position and this reminds you, you are not,” she said.

The course took place over challenging hilly terrain; participants could compete in the military heavy division, with a 35-lb ruck sack, and military specification uniform, or in a personal challenge category where they could walk, run or march some or part of the course.

Maj. Chuck Kim, who did the course in advance for preparation for the event said, “This course was awesome, scenic and very challenging. Second Mountain is no joke.”

Several months of planning went into the event, and the event coordinator Capt. Frank Junkin, was pleased with the results, “I felt a great deal of pride assisting in the planning of this year's MFTF at FTIG. The planning staff and volunteers came together from over a dozen different units towards one common goal .... celebrating our fallen heroes. Meeting the Gold Star families and seeing the participants cross the finish line was truly inspiring.”

A mirror event was held in Kuwait spearheaded by deployed Pennsylvania Guard members.

More than 600 service members line-up in preparation for the second annual March for the Fallen, 28-mile relay, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, which started April 27, and ended early the next morning. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ashley M. Outler, Third Army/U.S. Army Central Public Affairs)
More than 600 service members line-up in preparation for the second annual March for the Fallen, 28-mile relay, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, which started April 27, and ended early the next morning. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ashley M. Outler, Third Army/U.S. Army Central Public Affairs)

By U.S. Army Maj. Angela King-Sweigart
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2013

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