Originally written 27 Feb 2016, at the start of day 3 of a 4 day 161 run down the coast of Southern California in honor of fallen female servicemembers. Today's second dedication goes to the gold star families. When we do these memorial runs, we are honoring and remembering the lives lost in service of our country, but we're also honoring those families that feel the pain of a missing sibling, husband, daughter, wife, mother, or father. We run to tell them that their loved ones are not forgotten, that we are full of eternal gratitude for their service.

I wrote on support on day 1, and so much of that sentiment applies to today's dedication as well. Thank you.

When veterans or servicemembers lose someone close, it hits us pretty hard. These fallen heroes are our brothers and sisters, our new family. These losses are hard because of the loss, but also because the represent the culmination of sacrifices, the ultimate sacrifice. They remind us of the gravity of war and the sanctity of live.

Because they are our sisters and brothers in arms, we tend to see them through our military lense. But the gold star families, they know our heroes through all the other lenses. They don't know the fallen as "Capt" or "LCpl," they know them as "Chica" or "Tiny." They are the ones that changed diapers, played tag, or exchanged wedding vows. And often they are the ones we servicemembers forget to keep in touch with. For Gold Star families whose only links to the military were the fallen, this can be hard. So today, I'm talking to you vets, if you lost someone, reach out to their families. Tell the families that you still honor and remember - the fallen and the loved ones left behind.

And today we will run for 43 women and their gold star families. We will run for all the gold star families, for anyone that's heard the knock on the door, received a crisp folded flag, or felt a 21 gun salute. Thank you, for your service.