LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The State Capitol served as a finish line Sunday, March 18, for a 144-mile run honoring Arkansas' fallen heroes.
The Run for the Fallen started in Ozark, Ark. Friday morning and made it's way into Little Rock on Sunday. Each mile along the journey was run in memory of an Arkansan who died serving the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2011.
Mile 143 recognized Army 1LT Thomas M. Martin, a graduate of Cabot High School. In 2007, Martin was killed in Iraq when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.
"I think it's important to do these things for soldiers who have walked away from their own families, like Tom gave the ultimate sacrifice," Martin's friend Tara Finney said.
After completing the 3-day trek, runners joined Gold Star families in the State Capitol rotunda for a ceremony in remembrance of their fallen loved ones.
"We remember what Arkansas gives and the spirit of the patriotism that runs thourgh our blood -- that when there is the call, we answer," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said.
The name of all 144 servicemembers from Ark. killed since 9/11 were read by Gold Star families during the ceremony.
Wendy Cook read several names, including her son's -- SSGT James P. Cook Jr.
After two tours of duty in Qatar and two tours in Iraq, Cook died in a motorcycle crash in Avaiano, Italy. The crash happened in 2007, two days before the birth of his second child.
"The hurt never goes away," Mrs. Cook said. "You never stop missing them and loving them."
However, she said events like Arkansas Run for the Fallen bring her family comfort.
"It makes me happy to be part of something like this today," Cook said. "Because I never say I know how someone else feels, but I know what it's like to lose a child, and there are no words."
Click here to view an interactive map of the route, with more information about each military member honored.
The Arkansas Run for the Fallen Traveling memorial has been displayed across the state and consists of a flag and placard for each Arkansan.