NEW YORK CITY -- Marines, Coast Guardsmen and New York Port Authority police officers joined forces to participate in a motivational run May 27. Just one of the many events that took place in New York City during Fleet Week 2004.
The run not only commemorated those lost in the World Trade Center attacks but also instilled a sense of camaraderie between services and civilians.
“I thought it was symbolic of the true spirit of our Americans and our military and how we all group together as one to fight this war,” said Sergeant Rick Munnelly, police officer, Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH). “I speak on behalf of our department, and we are very proud to see everybody here.”
The participants began by loading up onto a ferry to begin their run at the riverfront. Once at the starting point, Marines got their blood pumping by doing push-ups, jumping jacks, and other warm-up exercises.
Led by the Marine Corps colors, the runners took off with shouts down the line and unit flags in hand. The Marines could be heard shouting cadence which echoed of the tall city buildings, and other participants chimed in with their own versions.
Runners finished up the event by passing by the Policemen’s Memorial and then heading to Ground Zero, the final destination.
Upon reaching the hallowed ground that was once the World Trade Center, the fatigued runners neatly reformed their ranks to pay homage to the fallen who could not be present. Passersby, hustling on their way to work, put their busy schedules aside to join the servicemembers and police officers in prayer and a moment of silence led by the force chaplain.
“It’s good to see Marines getting pumped up,” said Marine 1st Lt. James L. Carter, Guns Platoon commander, A Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment. “It was a true reminder of what we are fighting for. I think it’s good for the New Yorkers to see the Navy, Marine Corps Team out here giving them a brief snapshot of the job we are doing as a result of the attacks of September 11th.”
Emotions ran high as the growing crowd looked on at the proud men and women who volunteer their lives to the protection of the American people. The ceremony put their hard work into perspective, according to Carter.
“It’s something that you often find yourself thinking about in the desert,” he added. “You always wonder if anyone really cares, and it turns out that they really do appreciate and recognize the sacrifices we make for them.”
Feelings of pride ran through all service members present at the event, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Jesus Gonzales, Boatswain's Mate, USCGC Reliance.
“This was a very emotional time for us, especially being part of the unit guarding the New York harbor after the attacks,” Gonzales said. “To see everyone come together again was very emotional.”
The run may have been for only a short time, but the feelings of camaraderie and patriotism will last much longer.
“We can’t give up and I don’t think with the tremendous amount of spirit shown here today we will allow that,” Munnelly said.