Running 11,000 miles to remember 9-11

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Spc. Tamara Lynch, Pfc. Daniel Maples, Spc. Donald Ott and Spc. Brandon Hibert, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion, run Sept. 3 on the track at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq. (Army photo//Sgt. 1st Class Robert Riggins)

Deployed soldiers who set out to run one mile for every person who died because of the 9-11 attacks, or 2,977 miles – actually ran nearly 11,000 miles, or almost 1,000 a day, according to Army spokeswoman Rebecca Steed.

The soldiers and federal civilians with the Headquarters Company, 40th Military Police Battalion from Fort Leavenworth, and the attached 59th Military Police Company stationed in Al Asad, Iraq, began the run at midnight Sept. 1. There were at least two people running around the track at all times. The effort ended in a ceremony Sept. 11 at the base. The cumulative total was 10,531.7.

To put that into perspective, that is further than if the unit held a relay foot race from Baghdad, Iraq, to Los Angeles, Calif.

The idea was spawned by a platoon sergeant in the 59th MP Company, Sgt. 1st Class Mitchell Vazquez, who wanted to do something to honor the victims.

“Every year I always did something on 9/11 to remember what had happened, whether it was moments of silence or just talking to my soldiers about the importance of values, importance of being a soldier, where they were that day, and what being in the military meant to them and me,” he said.

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