Honor the fallen: A 24-hour vigil

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick
  • 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Hearts are racing, blood is pumping and the only sounds heard are the shuffling feet of runners and a single voice uttering, one by one, the names of those listed as prisoners of war and missing in action.

This is the Honor the Fallen run, a vigil designed to remember and pay tribute to POW/MIA service members who are not here today. This year it’s scheduled to return to Barksdale Sept. 20 - 21.

In 2017, more than 270 participants, ages ranging from 5 to 80, paid tribute by running and walking the POW/MIA flag and a baton around the track continuously for 24 hours. This was done to signify an unwavering commitment to bring home those who are missing.

“We want to make this an annual occurrence and continue to grow the impact it has across the base,” said Maj. Eric Hoffman, Honor the Fallen lead coordinator. “There's enough things that divide us and plenty of entities that would love nothing more than to exploit those divides, but honoring those who sacrificed so greatly and supporting their families in a time of need is something we can all unite behind.”

Even though the vigil will be conducted in the same manner as the previous year, additions have been made to enhance the already successful event.

“It is much larger this year,” said Staff Sgt. Jolene Canaga, Honor the Fallen assistant coordinator. “The biggest reason being how many more squadrons and groups are involved. Another improvement is a retreat ceremony on September 21, at the flag pole of the 2nd Bomb Wing headquarters building to signify the end of the vigil.”

“My hopes for this is that we have a larger number of participants than last year’s inaugural event,” she said. “We want to raise more awareness for POW/MIA regarding how many individuals are still in that status. From Louisiana alone, there are currently 1,153.”

There are a total of 96 positions that need to be filled, including walkers, runners, callers and squadron representatives. To be a part of the team that will honor more than 82,000 unaccounted POW/MIAs contact a squadron representatives or visit www.facebook.com/HonorTheFallenBarksdale/.