TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - 6,574. That's the number of U.S. service members killed in the line of duty since the U.S. entered conflict in 2001. A local volunteer group spent Wednesday remembering every service member who has died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Today we are placing 6574 of all those that have died in Iraq and Afghanistan," Olivia Goulding, organizer of the 2012 Terre Haute "Run For the Fallen" said.
Olivia Goulding organizes Wabash Valley's "Run For The Fallen"
She's done it for three years, to remember one of her friends who died while serving. Run for the Fallen Is a Nationwide Event - organizers line run-routes with flags.
But setting up for the event is just as monumental as the run.
"One (of our) group that's starting on Alabama, Alaska, Arizona (at one end.) Then another group that's starting at the end with Wyoming and Wisconsin and then we are praying that we meet in the middle," Goulding said.
But this year the set up is little bit more difficult than years past.
"We are struggling with the drought and that's making the ground hard, but its brought out a lot of ingenuity," Goulding said.
Volunteers used any tool, or device they could to make sure the rough conditions don't slow down the set up.
As the evening drew on, despite the tough ground, the groups worked like well oiled machines. Civilians, veterans, and even current servicemen paying their respects to the fallen with their sweat.
At the end of the evening all their efforts create a sight so powerful because of what it stands for.
"Each flag represents an individual, but it also represents a whole family that has lost a loved one," Goulding ended saying.
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