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Inside the Gates: Running to honor those who made sacrifices for the nation

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 8:34 AM AKDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2021 at 6:13 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -The Wreaths Across America ceremony will return to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson this winter as wreaths are placed on the headstones of those who served in the U.S. military and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The organization is going virtual for the second straight year to get 2 million wreaths on the military graves.

Wreaths Across America will hold a virtual 5K and 10K race Sept.11-25. Participants will sponsor a wreath that will be placed on headstones.

“Gold Star families, it’s so important to them, and it’s important to this country that we never stop saying their names,” said Wreaths Across America Executive Director Karen Worcester. “It’s very easy to have them in our hearts, and say their names when you commit to something that takes the effort something like a physical 5K or 10K takes.”

Although registration is closed for both races, organizers are still encouraging people to do one, record it as the person says the name of someone the nation lost and then post it to the Wreaths Across America Facebook page.

“We have a saying at Wreaths Across America, that a person dies twice,” Worcester said. “The first time when they stop breathing, the heart stops beating, the breath leaves the body. But the final time is when their name is spoken for the very last time.”

Worcester also said the virtual runs will help keep alive the memories of those who gave their all for the nation.

The Wreaths Across America ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery Saturday, December 18th. It’s one of around 3,000 locations around the country where the program will take place that day.

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