Memorial run for Iraq dead nears end

Army veteran Mike Ehredt has been chugging across America at a pace of roughly 11 minutes per mile since May 1 at the Pacific Ocean near Astoria, Ore. How far will that get you?

In a Facebook post last Thursday, Ehredt writes, "Left New York behind today as I came in 13 days ago ... in the rain. Now into Vemont ... 4056 miles are complete. 363 miles to go!!! Can almost smell the ocean!!"

Check out this Locate Mike link. Click right-side arrow a couple of times and the Atlantic comes into view.

Ehredt is making the run to honor every single American soldier who died in Iraq — a number that currently stands at 4,424. Every mile along his route, Ehredt has stopped to place a small American flag in the ground. Attached is a yellow ribbon with the name, age, rank and hometown of one of the fatalities.

Ehredt has performed this simple act of grace and sorrow more than 4,000 times by now. After placing the flag, he stands, salutes, and enters coordinates onto his GPS that is uploaded into the Locate a Flag section of his website,

Ehredt has organized the flags in reverse chronological order, so that by the time he reaches his last mile at the shores of the Atlantic Ocean near Rockland, Maine, the one flag he has left will be for the first soldier to die in Iraq, Marine Maj. Thomas Jay Aubin.

This will happen in about a week. The Inlander intends to locate the flags of all the soldiers with local ties who died in Iraq. A couple years ago, this was more than two dozen. Do we know them all? If there is a soldier who lost his or her life in Iraq that you think we need to know about, leave a comment or e-mail [email protected].