While it's apropos on any anniversary to reflect about the occasion it designates, how does one commemorate that event in the most appropriate and delicate way when it is a national tragedy resulting from brutal terrorism?
One Wildwood resident and firefighter had the idea to run full into the face of the memory, literally. Capt. Brad Shelton, shop steward for Metro West Fire Protection District in Wildwood, launched an annual Run To Remember 5K race in 2010.
He said he got the concept after addressing local middle schoolers on the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11. "They were only in grade school when 9/11 happened and most of them didn't remember the event when I asked about it in class. This event changed our lives, and I didn't think we could afford to let people forget," he said.
Shelton, 36 years old, said he thinks of 9/11 as his generation's D-Day.
What's unique about this run are the custom, patriotic pibs used, which proudly sport the U.S. flag along with each runner's number. "We run not only for the 343 American firefighters who lost their lives, but also for the more than 3,000 people who died because of 9/11. We will continue running to remember all those lives," said Shelton.
The second annual race will be held Sept. 10 this year in Wildwood. It begins at 8 a.m. Participants actually run through the apparatus room of Metro West Fire Station. No. 3. The race concludes in Wildwood Town Center.
Entry fee is $30 before Sept. 10; $35 on Saturday. The run is capped at 500 participants; call Big River Running Company at 636-394-5500 to inquire.
The 1-mile walk component includes a commemorative shirt.
The top male and female winners will be awarded, along with age group winners in categories ranging from 9 years and younger to 60-plus years.
All proceeds again will benefit Backstoppers and the Pujols Foundation.