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May Memorial Marathon carries torch, healing for Gold Star families

The goal is to have one committed runner on the ground around the clock in May

TEMPLE, Texas — Memorial Day is a few weeks away but for Gold Star families, everyday is just like the other as they work to carry the torch so their service member and loved one is never forgotten.

Silkey Knadle, the wife of CW2 David Knadle who was killed this past November when his Apache helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, is hoping you will help remember her hero just as she does.

"To carry that torch with us that has changed lives, that has hurt lives that has made lives," Knadle said during a Zoom interview Wednesday, "They are carrying and honoring and respecting somebody that was truly loved and somebody that truly loved their country."

The May Memorial Marathon Run for the Fallen is a 24/7 National Marathon that aims to have at least one committed runner with sneakers on the ground every minute of every day this month.

“Through the creation of the May Memorial Marathon, we enable every citizen to participate in a proactive expression of appreciation for all our nation’s fallen and their families." said Honor and Remember founder George Lutz. "Together we will communicate one clear and constant month-long message."

Think of it as a virtual relay, one runner continuously handing off to the next in an "unbroken tribute chain," honoring and remembering each service member by name.

"To hear his name still makes me smile," said Krista Johnston, wife of Sgt. James Johnston, who was killed in Afghanistan last June. "It's amazing, it's heartwarming, it's heart wrenching that there is so many people that need to be run for, but to have them remembered, that's the whole point of this."

Both Silkey and Krista have signed up to run for each other and others killed in action for the entire month of May.

"Some of the times I have chosen are at odd hours and are uncomfortable and inconvenient," Silkey admits. "But for me, that is part of the point. It's for us to get uncomfortable. War and honor and sacrifice are not convenient."

The ACB 1-227, David's unit in Afghanistan has lost 4 men in the past year. CW2 Knadle, CW2 Kirk Fuchigami, Sgt. 1st Class John David Hilty and Spc. Juan Mendez-Covarrubias.

Cristina Cline, a veteran of the United States Army, is also running this month. She was in the Army on September 11, 2001, and remembered how this country came together. She said this is a way for all Americans to do so again, in honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

"No one is asking you to run 10 miles or run a marathon," she said. "Whatever you can do and whatever your capabilities are because 30 minutes is a small time to pay to keep these memories going."

Those that do sign up and run, it doesn't go unnoticed.

"Just to know that people are still saying their names, they are remembering them," Krista said. "It, at least for me, makes me feel like I'm the only one still mourning and still remembering."

For Cline, the message everyday this month, around the clock is simple, clear and hard to swallow as a veteran of our country.

"When a torch sits idle and that flame sits idle, it dies," she said with a sadness in her voice. "We pass that torch so we can feed that flame."

For more information on The May Memorial Marathon and if you would like to sign up to run, you can do so here.

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