NORAD and USNORTHCOM got a chance to be part of something really special today. The cadets up at the U.S. Air Force Academy are holding a Remembrance Run, commemorating the victims of the 9/11 attacks as well as U.S. personnel still missing in action who will be recognized on Sept. 21 for National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Five-person teams of cadets from each of the Academy’s 40 cadet squadrons plus Academy group and wing staffs are running a 45-mile relay through Colorado Springs today, and for the starting point for this run they chose the NORAD and USNORTHCOM 9/11 Memorial. At the end of the 45 miles, they’re going to run for another 39 hours. Why 39 hours? It’s one hour for every year since Operation Homecoming brought American POWs home from Vietnam.
The commands’ Chief of Staff, Army Maj. Gen. Charles Luckey, came out to present the baton to the Cadet Wing Commander, Cadet Daniel Zotto of Chicago.
“We’re paying respect to all those people who came before us and all those people who went to work on 9/11 and didn’t know what was coming their way,” Zotto said. “It’s our way of paying tribute to them because for a large number of us, this is why we entered the service.”
General Luckey offered the cadets a few words of wisdom on leadership, and then the Academy Commandant, Air Force Brig. Gen. Gregory Lengyel, led the cadets on the first leg of the run. NORAD and USNORTHCOM played only a small part in the Academy’s commemoration of our fallen and missing servicemembers, but it was certainly a role worth playing.