COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The military community gathered Saturday evening to honor and remember all those who fought courageously in The Battle of Mogadishu.
The movie “Black Hawk Down,” tells the story of those who fought this battle in Somalia, back in 1993. On the 30th anniversary, Black Hawks flew over Downtown Columbus, landing right along the Chattahoochee Riverwalk.
Oct. 4, 1993 is a day Americans remember as one of the deadliest battles the United States military had seen since the Vietnam War. To commemorate their sacrifice, soldiers, veterans and community members ran the annual Mogadishu Mile 5k Race. Before the race started, dozens of U.S. Army Rangers recited the Rangers Creed, echoing across Woodruff Park.
“I never had a brother growing up, but now, I have hundreds and I just love seeing these guys and being with these guys that I haven’t seen in years,” said Keith Emerson, a U.S. Army veteran who served in the 10th Mountain Division Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry. “And it’s just like when we get back together, it’s like we never were apart even a day. It’s a great experience.”
The run refers to the route that was taken by Rangers and Delta Force Soldiers from a helicopter crash site to an appointed rally point during the Battle of Mogadishu. By the end, 18 American service members died and 73 were wounded.
Around 50 Mogadishu veterans reconnected at the race after years apart. They reflected on a line in the star spangled banner.
“I always ask people to remember that it starts out with a question,” said Scott Miller, a retired U.S. Army assault force commander for the Task Force Ranger during the Battle of Mogadishu. “It’s, ‘Oh, say, can you see?’ And because of the service of Task Force Ranger before and modern day Rangers and all of our U.S. service members, you actually can see the flag flying every single day.”
The run is more than a race. It honors the fallen soldiers who sacrificed everything. To honor the 30th anniversary, the military community came together to reflect while connecting with civilians.
“You look around at the environment here and you’ve got a lot of non-military families who get to see the military and get to talk to those military folks,” said Clyde Glenn, a U.S. Army veteran who served in the 10th Mountain Division Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry. “So, when you combine the community and the military, it’s really a great thing.”
“It means to me the gratitude that this nation gives to us veterans that serve and the recognition of what we accomplished over there is immensely appreciated by me,” said Michael Rowland, a U.S. Army veteran who served in the 10th Mountain Division Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry. “It’s very humbling.”
The proceeds from the race will benefit two non-profit organizations that support disabled U.S. Army Rangers and the families of Rangers.