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24-hour run honors POW/MIA service members

Peter Aronson, 19th Space Operations Squadron, runs alone with the prisoners of war and missing in action flag during the POW/MIA run at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. The flag was continuously carried for a full 24-hour period, even during the late night and early morning hours, symbolizing Schriever's dedication to honoring POW/MIA service members.(U.S. Air Force Photo/Dennis Rogers)

Peter Aronson, 19th Space Operations Squadron, runs alone with the prisoners of war and missing in action flag during the POW/MIA run at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. The flag was continuously carried for a full 24-hour period, even during the late night and early morning hours, symbolizing Schriever's dedication to honoring POW/MIA service members.(U.S. Air Force Photo/Dennis Rogers)

Schriever’s prisoners of war and missing in action run advances the 50th Space Wing’s priority of advancing professionalism and infrastructure to enable mission performance by cultivating a culture for Airmen to honor service members who sacrificed before them. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

Schriever’s prisoners of war and missing in action run advances the 50th Space Wing’s priority of advancing professionalism and infrastructure to enable mission performance by cultivating a culture for Airmen to honor service members who sacrificed before them. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

Schriever Airmen run with the POW/MIA flag in group formation during the prisoners of war and missing in action run at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Thursday, Sept.15, 2016. Many squadrons ran around the base at the run’s start before handing the flag off to individual units who kept it moving for 24-hours straight.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

Schriever Airmen run with the POW/MIA flag in group formation during the prisoners of war and missing in action run at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Thursday, Sept.15, 2016. Many squadrons ran around the base at the run’s start before handing the flag off to individual units who kept it moving for 24-hours straight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.-- --

Airmen from a wide array of Schriever squadrons had a chance to run with the flag representing service members missing in action and/or have become prisoners of war during the base's 24-hour POW/MIA run Sept. 15-16 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

"We want to show that Schriever remembers and that those service members are not forgotten," said Staff Sgt. Christian Rodgers, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron, and event organizer. "The 24-hour duration was meant to symbolize the constant struggle these service members and their families endure."

The run started 7:30 a.m., Sept. 15, at with base leadership and squadrons lined in formation to perform reveille before running with the flag in formation around the base, replacing the monthly Wing Warfit run.

From that morning to the same time the next day, the flag was continuously carried from one Airman to the next, with individuals running a loop of approximately 1.3 miles, sometimes for more than three laps.

For participants, the physical demands were well worth the honor of running alongside the POW/MIA flag.

"It's a great honor for me, and a chance to respect the people who have come before me, and help leave a legacy for those who come after me," said Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Wierzba, 4th Space Operations Squadron.

The end of the run on Sept. 16 coincided with the annual POW/MIA Recognition Day, a day dedicated to remembering and honoring those service members who were prisoners of war or are still considered missing in action.

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency's website, there are an estimated 82,666 U.S. service members still considered missing in action across the world. Many of those missing were captured while fighting in Korea.

Schriever's POW/MIA run was a small dedication to the large sacrifice these service members made fighting for their country.

"For me it's a sense of duty," said Wierzba. "I'll do this every year for as long as I can.”

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