By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2006 – In conjunction with similar events across the country, up to 1,000 people are expected to walk the streets of downtown San Antonio Sept. 11 to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and to thank America's veterans, past and present. Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit group that provides emergency support and assistance to servicemembers and their families, is sponsoring the San Antonio Freedom Walk, which will start at the Alamodome and end at North Plaza, in downtown San Antonio. The overall route will be a little more than two miles, said Amy Palmer, executive vice president for Operation Homefront.
Sponsored by America Supports You, the Defense Department's program highlighting ways Americans support U.S. servicemembers, similar Freedom Walks are scheduled around the country. The Pentagon sponsored the first America Supports You Freedom Walk in the Washington, D.C., area in 2005. The San Antonio walk will begin at 9:15 a.m., with registration starting at 8 a.m., Palmer said. People can also pre-register online at the Operation Homefront Web site, she said. A local television news anchor is hosting the event, and speakers include Air Force Gen. William R. Looney III, commander of the Air Education and Training Command, at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger.
"We've had pretty good response from the local area," Palmer said. "San Antonio's a very patriotic city, so we expect to have a good turnout." Operation Homefront is focused mainly on military families, and Palmer said this walk will be a good opportunity for the families to participate in an event and be recognized. Operation Homefront is organizing Freedom Walks in 13 different cities, Palmer said. The group's focus is to pay tribute to military members, their families and veterans, she said.