A new national tradition emerges to remember the attacks of Sept. 11 and to honor Veterans, past and present as 117 cities across all 50 states and the District of Columbia will host America Supports You Freedom Walks to commemorate the five-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa.
The 2006 Washington, D.C., Freedom Walk will begin on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the WWII Memorial at 6:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 10, proceed across Memorial Bridge and conclude at the Pentagon South Parking lot, immediately adjacent to the crash site. Following the Freedom Walk, there will be a musical tribute from renowned mezzo soprano Denyce Graves and a light display featuring 184 beams of light, one for each life lost at the Pentagon, which will remain illuminated dusk 'til dawn each day until dawn on Sept. 12.
The first Freedom Walk, held last year in Washington, D.C., brought together 15,000 walkers to reflect on the attacks and to remember those who lost their lives that day. That event has inspired thousands of Americans across the nation to come together to establish Freedom Walk traditions in all corners of the country, from Chicago to Atlanta and Anchorage to Honolulu. They are being organized by grassroots efforts, through schools and universities, and with the aid and support of civic leaders, veterans groups, non-profit organizations and citizens from both rural and metropolitan communities.
"The Freedom Walk is being embraced by thousands of Americans because we need a way to come together, as a nation, and reflect on what happened that day. This overwhelming response to the Freedom Walk, with walks in every state of the union, speaks to the American spirit." said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense.
City officials and civic leaders are joined by thousands of individuals, organizations and public and private entities nationwide who are banding together in dozens of communities to establish the Freedom Walk as a new national tradition of patriotic support.
In Sebring, Ohio, 9-year-old Colton Lockner is organizing a Freedom Walk for the town's nearly 5,000 residents. In Killeen, Texas, the Killeen Independent School District is hosting a Freedom Walk on every one of its fifty campuses including elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. In addition to Killeen's commitment to commemorating the victims of Sept. 11, the Ft. Hood community will host a separate Freedom Walk at the local high school stadium.
Plans for a Freedom Walk in Oklahoma City, Okla. are well underway, with pledged participation from Gov. Brad Henry and former Gov. Frank Keating along with musical performances by The Great Divide and Luke Stricklin, a recently signed country artist and Iraq war veteran who is now touring the country.
Additionally, two Freedom Walks have also been planned by U.S. military personnel in Iraq and on the Diego Garcia Naval Support Facility base in the Indian Ocean, south of India.
Cities Hosting Freedom Walks Include:
Alabama: Lincoln; Alaska: Anchorage; Arizona: Flagstaff, Glendale, Peoria, St. Johns, Yuma; Arkansas: Little Rock, Piggott; California: Antioch, Central Union ISD, Corona, Huntington Beach, Laguna Woods, Modesto, Sacramento, San Diego, Simi Valley, Willows; Colorado: Aurora/Denver; Connecticut: Rowayton; Delaware: Milford; District of Columbia; Florida: Belleview, Deltona, Inverness, Safety Harbor, Tampa; Georgia: Atlanta, Ft. Stewart, Lakeland, Newnan; Hawaii: Honolulu, Maui, Pearl Harbor; Idaho: Sun Valley; Illinois: Barrington, Chicago; Indiana: Anderson, Crawfordsville, Ft. Wayne, Henryville, Indianapolis, Munster; Iowa: Cedar Rapids, Milo; Kansas: Ft. Riley, Hays; Kentucky: Louisville; Louisiana: Denham Springs; Maine: Eastport; Maryland: Aberdeen, Annapolis, Phoenix; Massachusetts: Brockton; Michigan: Constantine, Dearborn, Dundee; Minnesota: Fairmont; Mississippi: Gulfport; Missouri: Appleton City, Kansas City, St. Louis, Waynesville; Montana: Helena; Nebraska: Bellevue; Nevada: Las Vegas; New Hampshire: Jackson; New Jersey: Fair Lawn, Paterson, North Hanover; New Mexico: White Sands Missile Range; New York: Sackets Harbor; North Carolina: Ft. Bragg, Waxhaw; North Dakota: Grand Forks; Ohio: Oberlin, Sebring; Oklahoma: Enid, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Wister; Oregon: Newberg; Pennsylvania: Northgate, Oxford; Rhode Island: Newport; South Carolina: Columbia; South Dakota: Rapid City; Tennessee: Surgoinsville; Texas: Bishop, Copperas Cove, El Paso, Ft. Hood/Killeen, Plano, San Antonio, Uvalde; Utah: Salt Lake City; Vermont: Essex Junction; Virginia: Chesapeake, Poquoson, Hampton, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach; Washington: Lakewood, Longview; Wisconsin: La Crosse, Milwaukee, Saukville; West Virginia: Sandfork, Boone County; Wyoming: Cheyenne.
The first America Supports You Freedom Walk, held last year in the nation's capital, brought together more than 15,000 walkers including family members of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, members of Congress, administration officials, federal employees, corporate representatives, civic organizations and citizens from across the country.
More information on Freedom Walks in Washington D.C. and around the country, can be found at www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil/freedomwalk