By Steven Donald Smith
WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2006 – Atlanta will join communities across America to host a Freedom Walk Sept. 11, the fifth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States. The Freedom walk is being sponsored by Checkers restaurants, and presented by Operation Homefront.
"We wanted to reflect on the events that happened on 9/11 at the Pentagon and the twin towers in New York City, and in Pennsylvania," said Vicki Sarracino, president of the Georgia chapter of Operation Homefront. "And we also wanted to renew our commitment to freedom and the values of our country, and to honor the veterans past and present." Both Checkers and Operation Homefront are members of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, which highlights ways the American people and the corporate sector support the nation's servicemembers.
Operation Homefront volunteers, as well as community members, are expected to participate in the 1.2-mile Freedom Walk, which will begin at 9 a.m. at Turner Field. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. in the nearby Lexis parking lot. As of this morning, 112 similar Freedom Walks are planned in 49 states and the District of Columbia to remember those who lost their lives Sept. 11 and to honor America's military veterans, past and present. The local events around the country parallel the Washington, D.C., Freedom Walk scheduled Sept. 10 and sponsored by DoD's America Supports You program.
Sarracino stressed the importance of supporting America's men and women in uniform. "They are essential for our freedom," she said. "Our troops have done so much for us in the past and the present. We just feel that people need to be made aware of all that they do, and their sacrifices."
The first America Supports You Freedom Walk, held on Sept. 11, 2005, in the nation's capital, brought together more than 15,000 walkers - including family members of 9/11 victims, members of Congress, administration officials, federal workers, corporate employees, civic organizations and citizens from around the country.
Information for people interested in organizing Freedom Walk observances in their communities is available at the America Supports You Freedom Walk Web site.