By Steven Donald Smith
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2006 – The Dallas/Fort Worth area will hold a Freedom Walk on Sept. 11 to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks on the United States five years ago and to honor the nation's veterans, past and present. "We just really feel that on this five-year anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, it's extremely important that we honor in a very visible way the victims of 9/11 and our military and our police and firefighters," Romey Kilgore, the event's primary organizer, said.
The Dallas area Freedom Walk will begin at 8 p.m. at the Plano Centre, in Plano, Texas. The walk will be about a mile long. Participants are encouraged to arrive early to take part in a 9/11 Remembrance Rally prior to the walk. Kilgore is the founder of the nonprofit organization "United We Serve," which is sponsoring the walk. United We Serve is dedicated to supporting deployed servicemembers and their families by providing practical help, such as free lawn care and sending care packages.
"We support military families and those deployed," Kilgore said. "We adopt them throughout the entire term of their deployment." Kilgore's daughter and son-in-law serve in the U.S. Army. "I have had a heart and calling to support and serve them and their units for many years," she said. "However, after the events of Sept. 11, I was motivated to serve a greater need than just those of my children, and my personal calling became United We Serve."
Numerous other Freedom Walks are planned around the country to remember those who lost their lives on Sept. 11 and to honor America's past and present military veterans. The Defense Department's America Supports You program is sponsoring the main Freedom Walk in Washington, D.C., which takes place Sept. 10. The other Freedom Walks are independently organized.
America Supports You is a nationwide program that helps showcase Americans' support for the men and women of the armed forces and their families. Since its launch in November 2004, the program has welcomed more than 225 grassroots organizations and more than 25 corporate team members. Kilgore's group, United We Serve, is a member of the America Supports You program.
The first America Supports You Freedom Walk was held Sept. 11, 2005, in Washington. It brought together more than 15,000 walkers, including family members of the victims of Sept. 11, members of Congress, federal workers, corporate employees, civic organizations, and citizens from around the country, DoD officials said.
Information for people interested in organizing Freedom Walk observances in their communities is available at the America Supports You Freedom Walk Web site. Those interested in walking in the Dallas Freedom Walk can pre-register on the United We Serve Web site. "It's time to remember and come together as a country," Kilgore said. "It's also important to also honor those who are still continuing to take care of us.”