The 2004 Battle of Fallujah was one of the fiercest of the Iraq War. Now, more than nine years later, a group of Marine reservists are choosing to honor those killed in a unique way. The five servicemembers are set to embark on a lengthy 81-mile hike as a tribute to the dozens of troops who lost their lives during the weeks-long battle, Military Times reported.
The hike is being led by Maj. Charleston Malkemus, who fought in the infamous battle. He started the hike as a small endeavor but it has since grown by leaps and bounds, and he estimates that approximately 50 people will be making the trek with him this Labor Day weekend. In addition to honoring fallen troops, Malkemus hopes his hikes will increase awareness of the challenges returning servicemembers face.
"According to our count, 81 died during the two major offensives of the battle of Fallujah," he told the news source. "We hope [the hike] begins to rouse the community. The next greatest generation of America is about to come home, so we see this as only the beginning."
Malkemus and his fellow hikers aren't the only ones showing support through a lengthy journey. Capt. Michael Boelk and his wife recently ran 100 miles over the course of 24 to 27 hours in an effort to support military families, NBC affiliate KARE reports.