By Gerry J. Gilmore
WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2006 – Troop-support volunteers in Milwaukee are gearing up for the city's first Freedom Walk, a local organizer said today. Emily Lindeman, Operation Homefront's chapter president for southeastern Wisconsin, said Milwaukee's two-mile-long Freedom Walk is scheduled Sept. 11 starting at 9 a.m. at the city's War Memorial.
"We're going to be walking through Veterans' Park, which is a park right behind the War Memorial," Lindeman said, noting there will be a 9/11 memorial service before the walk. Lindeman said Operation Homefront, a co-sponsor of Milwaukee's Freedom Walk, is a national nonprofit volunteer group that provides emergency support and assistance to servicemembers and their families. Milwaukee County officials and local businesses also are pitching in to help organize the event, Lindeman added.
Registration for Milwaukee's Freedom Walk is free and can be made online, or on site before the event starting at 8:30 a.m., Lindeman said. Participants will receive complimentary T-shirts. Lindeman called Freedom Walks and other events honoring present-day military members and past veterans important endeavors. She noted her father had served in the Air Force, while her husband, Brandon, was in the Marines for four years and saw two tours of duty in Iraq.
"I think too many people take our freedoms for granted here in the United States," Lindeman said. "And, we often forget the people who put in the work and put in the time to make it easy for us to find our dreams and successes in America." Americans should honor the sacrifices made by U.S. servicemembers and realize that "freedom isn't free," Lindeman said.
Operation Homefront is affiliated with the Defense Department's "America Supports You" troop-support campaign, Lindeman said. America Supports You spotlights ways the American people and the nation's corporate sector support U.S. servicemembers.
Operation Homefront is organizing Freedom Walks in 13 cities to honor military members, their families and veterans, Lindeman said. Freedom Walks similar to Milwaukee's are being held across the country to remember those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and to honor America's military veterans, past and present. These local events parallel Washington, D.C.'s Freedom Walk that's slated Sept. 10 and sponsored by America Supports You.
As of today, DoD officials said, 91 communities in 41 states have registered Freedom Walks at DoD's Freedom Walk Web site.