DES MOINES, Iowa -- On a day that is normally seen as the start to summer, others are choosing to spend it in a more meaningful way.
"The goal is bringing the community together to actually honor the fallen. A lot of veterans spend this day alone struggling and suffering, so we are going to provide people the opportunity to say 'thank you' to a Gold Star family but also give veterans a safe place to hang out and do something positive," said Troy Peterson, founder of ValorFit.
ValorFit, a nonprofit helping veterans through exercise and healthy living, organized a community "Murph" workout. The workout is named after fallen Navy SEAL Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. More than 400 people participated.
"This is the actual action behind thoughts and prayers. There are over 50 veterans doing this workout today," said Peterson.
Families who have lost loved ones to war saw that action up close.
"I just think it’s a great way for to get out and remember our fallen. You know, this entire workout, Murph, the mission that he was a part of when he was killed, is all just a testament, this is a hard workout. To see it as their way of remembering is a cool thing," said Amanda Justice-Peterson.
Justice-Peterson lost her husband, James, in 2011 when he was deployed in Afghanistan, and she sees the event as one more way to remember her late husband.
"Gold Star families don’t have a problem with people going out and barbecuing and boating and doing all that stuff because that’s what we do, too. We just have someone to remember while we’re doing it," said Justice-Peterson.
After all the running, squats and pain, she hopes people take away something simple from today.
"Learn a name. Even if it's who the Murph is named after. Learn his name, learn his story. There are just so many of them. Just learn their story and speak their name. Remember them. Keep them in your mind when you’re working out," said Justice-Peterson.