When Lisa Hallett’s husband, U.S. Army Capt. John Hallett, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009, Hallett turned to running.
“We had this community where we were going to heal together, and that is where ‘Wear Blue’ was born,” Hallett told ABC News.
What began as a few friends joining Hallett, a mother of three, on her Saturday morning runs, grew to 10,000 runners across the country, led by Hallett, working tirelessly to keep her husband’s and other veterans’ memories alive.
At the start of each run organized by “Wear Blue: Run to Remember,” the national non-profit running community co-founded by Hallett, the name of each military member killed on that weekend over the last 13 years of war is called out in a “Circle of Remembrance.” Then, “Wear Blue” runners call out the names of those for whom they personally run.
“It’s hard to breathe because I look at all the faces, and I look at the ages of the people killed in action and I just think of their families,” said one runner.
“Wear Blue” runs also feature hand-held American flags along the race course alongside large posters with photographs of the fallen.
Hallett’s inspiration for "Wear Blue" came from her life-long love for her husband, with whom she grew up and fell in love in high school.
“When I was in high school I remember saying, ‘I am going to marry John Hallett,” she said.
The couple had three children together -- Jackson, Brice and Heidi, who was born just days after John Hallett deployed.
"John called, he said, ‘I never heard her cry,’ and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, don’t worry about it. We have a lifetime for that,’” Hallett recalled.
Three weeks later, Hallett got the news that her husband had been killed, recalling, “My world was rocked.”
Now Hallett and her children work every day to keep John Hallett's and other veterans’ memories alive.
“They live because ‘Wear Blue’ lives and that is an incredible gift,” Hallett said. “’Wear Blue’ provides the sense that we’re not alone in remembering our service members.”
During one recent run, Jackson Hallett held an American flag along the race course.
“I am honoring my dad,” he said. “It’s a happy day and I feel really good.”