By Audrey Jensen
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — For 24 hours, the black and white prisoner of war/missing in action flag was carried around the Fitness Center track at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Sept. 20-21, 2018.
As part of the 2018 POW/MIA Remembrance Week of events at Peterson AFB, the 24-hour Remembrance Run was put together to honor service members who are POW or MIA.
“There are over 82,000 service members still missing today that we’ll be running to honor and remember their sacrifice,” said Capt. Megan Maxwell, one of the 24-hour run organizers. “The 21st Space Wing has volunteers from all units scheduled to keep the POW/MIA flag moving over the next 24 hours.”
Col. Sam Johnson, 21st Space Wing vice commander, Chief Master Sgt. Rudy Gamez, 21st Operations Group superintendent, and Tech. Sgt. Jairus McCain, 302nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, kicked off the run by carrying the flag as they started their laps.
“We’re honoring the POWs/MIAs, the families that still have loved ones missing, and all the people that came before us,” said Johnson. “The pain that we have running around the track is nothing compared to what they endured while they were prisoners of war.”
Everyone who participates in the 24-hour run receives a lanyard with a badge that has the name, rank and unit of a service member who is MIA or a POW.
“The annual POW/MIA run is held in hopes that the event will carry on the legacy of those we lost fighting for America,” Gamez said. “But the true meaning of this day is best seen through the eyes of the volunteers and participants whose loved ones were lost defending our freedom.”
At the end of the run, the First Sergeant Council carried the flag from the track to the Retreat Ceremony, Sept. 21.
“This is just one week, but we need to remember the people who came before us year-round and all the veterans, especially all the POW/MIA folks and their families,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t end with Friday’s retreat ceremony.”
In total, 231 runners ran 2,681 laps, which make up 670.25 miles ran in remembrance of the MIA/POW service members.