COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Hundreds of service members honored those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Fort Jackson’s 10th annual 5K Run/Walk for the Fallen.
The Run for the Fallen is an annual event held throughout the United States to help bring awareness to Fallen Soldiers.
This event builds support for the families of those killed in combat and aids the healing process for those Americans whose lives have been affected by the war.
“The emotional part of it is that thought of who you’re running for,” Brigadier General Milford H. Beagle, Jr., U.S. Army Commander of Ft. Jackson said. “To run and think about them and reflect on the sacrifices they made for us, it’s truly emotional, and it makes you full of pride to do it.”
Fort Jackson provided more than 500 service members to represent S.C. fallen soldiers. Each runner had the name of a fallen soldier who died while on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.
Pvt. Ladedrick Buchanan was one of the hundreds who ran for a fallen soldier.
He wore Staff Sgt. James Estep’s bib while running.
“I promise you I will run to death for them,” Buchanan said. “We are going to run, and we’re going to do a good job.”
Estep was killed in Iraq in 2005. He leaves behind Kelly Estep, his wife, and three kids.
Kelly Estep says November 15th, 2005 is a day she remembers every detail of.
“My daughter was actually born premature, so I was actually feeding her, my son was in the bathroom actually and around 11:59 p.m I got a knock on the door,” Kelly Estep said. “[He was] on a routine patrol and an IED went off and yeah. Took my husband and his driver, and two other soldiers on top of that.”
Her husband was deployed to Iraq in October of 2005. He was killed seven weeks later.
“No you can’t prepare for losing a loved one,” Kelly Estep said. “The pain will never go away. It is something we can just honor them and by saying their name and here with being Ft. Jackson, Ft. Jackson is here to honor every soldier in South Carolina.”
Event organizers say in 2018, roughly 1,200 soldiers, family members, and civilians participated in the run.