Fort Hood paused to remember the lives of the thousands of soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in preparation for Independence Day.
The Remembrance 5K's route was lined with the boots of the fallen.
"Freedom is not free. It never has been. It never will be," Major General JT Thomson said.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, 7,768 service members have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
"This event is a stark reminder of the tremendous cost that our nation's sons and daughters have paid to defend our great country and preserve the American way of life," MG Thomson said.
Hundreds ran to remember the thousands of lives, who are the reason we celebrate Independence Day.
"For Independence Day, to come out here and see this is the true impact. It's not about burgers or hot dogs, just pause for a moment and pay your respects," First Sergeant Daniel Efthimiou said.
For most, the event was an opportunity to honor their loved one, their friend or their battle buddy.
"These are my battle buddies. We deployed in 2016-17 to Afghanistan," Sergeant First Class Kizzie Brown said.
In November of 2016, an explosion just 50 feet in front of SFC Kizzie Brown claimed the lives of five of her fellow soldiers.
"Today's an emotional day, I came right over to these boots. They mean a lot to me, they died so I could live," SFC Brown said.
Now, SFC Brown lives everyday for her battle buddies and all of the others who fought until the end.
"These are unsung heroes. Some people will never know that they existed or that they gave their life for this country. So, Central Texas should know and should want to come out here and support all the unsung heroes that are fighting for their country and doing what they're doing to make America great," SFC Brown said.
All 7,768 boots will remain out on Sadowski Field until July 8 for people to stop by and pay their respects.
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