On a wall in the Memorial Hall, located in the Wilkinson Student Center on Brigham Young University’s campus, names of alumni who have died in combat are listed, dating back to World War I. Many people pass by this room, oftentimes without even realizing it is there. However, Brett Anderson proves this isn’t the case for everyone, as reported by Deseret News.
As a BYU graduate and an Air Force officer, Anderson decided he wanted to do something special to honor these fallen heroes. So much so, that he decided to run one mile in honor of each hero who has given his or her life. While in the ROTC at BYU, Anderson participated in a memorial workout every Tuesday and Thursday, but this wasn’t enough for Anderson. He wanted to do something more—210 miles more, to be exact. At the start of his project, Anderson wrote on his blog:
“These are people who studied where I study, walked where I walk, and wanted the same things in life that I want before their lives were tragically cut short in defense of our freedom, our peace, and our families.”
While contemplating what he could do to honor these heroes who have given him—and all of us—everything, he got his answer.
“I need to live; I need to live life to the fullest. I need to seize every bit of joy that they paid for. I need to love. I love life. I love love. And I love running. I’m going to do what I love and never stop. But while I do it, I’m going to thank them. I’m going to personally thank each individual on that wall for what they gave to me. I know I can never repay them, but I hope that in some small way, I can pay my respects.”
With 210 names listed on the Memorial Hall’s wall, Anderson committed to running 210 miles. With each mile, Anderson wrote the initials of each hero on either his arm or ankle, and took it upon himself to learn something about each soldier. Understanding that there would be times he would be exhausted, sore, thirsty, and cold, Anderson started his project to honor these soldiers and be reminded that he is free—he is alive.
At the close of his project a month ago, Anderson concluded with some advice for us all:
“Look back on the examples of these men, those who gave all. If we forget about them, we lose our precious heritage, something that can be a real, tangible force in our lives. Remember them.
Read about Anderson’s entire journey on his blog.
“I ran to remember, and I will never forget.”