Army veteran Mike Ehrendt has crossed 2,146 miles to support soldiers who fell in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Ehrendt, who jogged 26 miles per day from Minnesota to Texas.
Ehrendt stopped every mile on his journey, called Project America Run, to honor a fallen soldier by planting an American flag with the soldier’s name, rank, and hometown, reports ABC News. Ehrendt stated of the project:
“It’s to honor and say thank you to those that died in Iraq and Afghanistan. I stop each mile, put a flag down that bears the name, rank, and hometown, in the numerical order of their deaths, and it creates an invisible wall across the country. I just wanted to do something for them, something genuine and pure that no one would replicate.”
Before beginning his journey, the veteran had the names of the fallen soldiers written on 1,500 feet of yellow ribbon in chronological order of their deaths. Each flag has been given an assigned GPS location, meaning that the soldiers’ families can see where it is located on the path.
The Army veteran was joined in Galveston, Texas on Sunday by hundreds of marathoners, who jogged with him for the last 10 miles through the city, then allowed Ehrendt to run the last mile alone, as he did for the majority of the past 2,000 miles. He finally planted the last flag at the edge of the water. The Idaho man stated:
“There’s a lot of satisfaction in that. Just being able to create that wall [of flags] from north to south and touch the water of the Gulf. You can’t really explain that.”
This was Ehrendt’s third time running to support America’s fallen heroes. He ran 4,300 miles across the country in 2010 and ran 500 miles in northern Spain in 2011.