On a brisk but sunny Saturday morning, March 24, a large crowd quickly began to accumulate in front of the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter house on 113 West Broadway St, Gettysburg, PA.
In a display of inter-fraternal solidarity, four separate Greek-letter organizations joined together to celebrate their shared commitment to the ideals of service and sacrifice.
ΛΧΑ, ΣΑΕ, ΑΤΩ, and ΦΔΘ (Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Alpha Tau Omega, Phi Delta Theta), in partnership with Blue and Gray Bar and Grill, hosted the second annual Battlefield Ruck March, an annual philanthropic event benefiting Homes for our Troops. A charity dedicated to the construction of houses for U.S. veterans. This event officially started at 11 a.m.
11:15 a.m. – A sea of bright red Ruck March 2018 t-shirts, intermittently dotted by Greek-letter sweatshirts and camouflage military uniforms, begins bottle necking towards the registration table where participants register/pay to compete in the Ruck March.
Once registered, groups of runner, joggers, and walkers start edging their way eagerly towards the starting line.
11:30 a.m. – Gettysburg College Men’s A Cappella group, Drop the Octave, serenades the crowd of Ruck March participants and their supporters with a beautifully executed rendition of our National Anthem.
11:45 a.m. – Just before the event is set to begin, an Army officer from the local War College ascends the front steps of the Lambda Chi porch to deliver a rousing speech to the energetic crowd in the front yard below.
Her address to the crowd of runners and supporters was deeply patriotic. Focusing primarily on the virtues of service and sacrifice — values which the hosting fraternal organizations consider to be among their guiding principles. In conclusion, the Army officer emphatically reinforced the importance of displaying gratitude towards the men and women who serve our nation both domestically and abroad.
Once the crowd’s lengthy applause finally died down, it was time for the Ruck March to begin.
12:00 p.m. – The runners are off!
Beginning and ending in front of the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter house, the Ruck March consists of a 5K race through various parts of the Gettysburg College campus as well as the surrounding battlefield.
Participants are required to carry with them, throughout the duration of the 3-mile course, a backpack weighing no less than 18 and and no more than 25 pounds – hence the “ruck”.
In a physical sense, the 20-pound backpack was intended to simulate the experience of running while carrying military equipment. In a more symbolic sense, however, the additional weight on the runners’ shoulders is meant to serve as a representation of their commitment to sharing the burden bore by our nation’s veterans. The Ruck March is as much a metaphorical show of unity in support of the troops as it is as a 5K race.
Lambda Chi Alpha Philanthropy Chair, Zak Hermann, reported that the event was able to raise over $2,000.00 for Homes for our Troops. Most of which is to be specifically allocated towards the building of a home for a local veteran in the Gettysburg area. This will provide Ruck March participants with tangible evidence of their contribution to the charity. Helping a Gettysburg veteran is an excellent example of thinking globally and acting locally.
With every runner across the finish line and every donation secured and accounted for. It can be said, without a shred of hesitation, that the Battlefield Ruck March 2018 was a thorough and resounding success.
Let’s do it again next year.