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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014  02:05:09 PM

Community remembers Sept 11 with Freedom Walk

Email   Print   Share By Erin Rogers, Sentinel Staff
September 13, 2012 | News
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Soldiers from Fort Hood’s WTB walk with the more than 400 participants on the home stretch of the 7th annual Freedom Walk, a 9/11 remembrance event, held at KHS’s Leo Buckley Stadium Sept. 11 following a ceremony held in the school’s gymnasium. Erin Rogers, Sentinel Staff
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Gold Star Families release balloons into the air at the conclusion of the 7th annual Freedom Walk held at KHS on Sept. 11. The balloons were released while a bell rang 11 times as a tribute to the Family members lost in the Global War on Terrorism. Erin Rogers, Sentinel Staff
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Local firetrucks form an arch, topped with an American Flag, where participants in the 7th annual Freedom Walk entered KHS’s Leo Buckley Stadium Tuesday as a tribute to those lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. More than 400 people from the Fort Hood community participated, including WTB and 1st Cav. Div. Soldiers. Erin Rogers, Sentinel Staff
More than 400 people showed up at Killeen High School Tuesday morning for the 7th annual Freedom Walk, including hundreds of Soldiers from the Warrior Transition Brigade and 1st Cavalry Division.

The Central Texas community came together with Fort Hood Soldiers on the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 to reflect and remember the lives lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

“We hold the Freedom Walk every year to honor those lost on September 11,” said Leslie Gilmore, public information officer of Killeen Independent School District. “And also to honor first responders in our local areas, as well as our military.”

With participation from all four KISD high schools, KISD partners, Fort Hood Soldiers and local first responders, the Freedom Walk was truly a community event, Gilmore said.

“We cannot let ourselves forget about the September 11 attacks, we have to keep those lives lost in our minds,” said Jennifer Washington, director of student/district/community relations. “And remember freedom comes with a dear price.”

Before the walk began, guest speaker Brig. Gen. Dean Milner, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commanding general, told the audience to remember that the September 11 attacks were a challenge to our freedom, and to not only remember the 2001 attack, but to keep the fight that continues today in our minds.

“Our heroes overseas today continue to do great things to defend our freedom,” Milner said.

After the national anthem, Pledge of Allegiance and invocation, Gold Star Family members were released to lead the walk from KHS’s gymnasium to Leo Buckley Stadium. WTB and 1st Cav. Div. Soldiers filed out of the gym in formation with Fort Hood community members and walked under an arch made by local fire trucks, topped with an American flag.

“This event is so important because it links us (Soldiers) with the civilian folks,” said Capt. Jose Dacunha, Company A, WTB, commander. “We have a tremendous amount of support from the community, and we want them to know how much we appreciate them, too.”

Dacunha also said he thinks KHS is the perfect location for the Freedom Walk because of the message it sends to high school students.

“This captures the moment and sends a strong message to the younger generations that we are not going to forget 9/11. They need to be aware of the tragedy that happened that day, and the resulting after effects,” Dabunha said, referring to the fact that younger generations have grown up with the Global War on Terrorism, and should not become desensitized to the war.

The march was headed by a banner that read, “The Walk to Remember 9-11,” and was carried by student representatives from Harker Heights High School, Ellison High School, Shoemaker High School and KHS.

The walk was concluded with a moment of silence at the stadium, where walkers stood quietly in reverence and remembrance of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, while a bell was rung 11 times.

While the bell slowly rang, Gold Star Families released balloons into the sky as a finale to the Freedom Walk and tribute to their Family members lost in the War on Terror.

“This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ the military service members, EMTs, fire fighters, police officers and other first responders,” Washington said, “To all of our heroes who continue the fight for us everyday.”
 
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