'America Supports You Freedom Walk' Honors Servicemembers
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2005 The "America Supports You Freedom Walk" to be held Sept. 11 has an important message for all Americans, a senior official told a radio audience here Aug. 10.
"We cannot forget that this country came under a serious attack on (Sept. 11), and we lost a lot of lives, and it was tragic," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison, on all-news WTOP. "We also want to remember that we have men and women in the military who volunteer to defend our country. We want to honor those veterans, past and present."
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced the Freedom Walk Aug. 9 at a Pentagon news briefing. The walk will be a tribute to the victims of 9/11 and to the past and present military members who have defended freedom, Barber said.
This walk is being conducted with the hope of encouraging every state to hold its own Freedom Walk next year, Barber said. She also stressed that the walk is not a political statement, but an act of remembrance and support.
"This is not a statement about the war in Iraq or about any policy decisions," she said. "This is a statement about, 'We remember we came under attack, and we're grateful for our men and women in the military who volunteer to serve our country.'"
The Freedom Walk will begin at 10 a.m. Sept. 11 in the Pentagon South parking lot. The two-mile route will end by the reflecting pool on the National Mall, where country music star Clint Black will give a free concert.
People can sign up for the walk by visiting www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil and clicking on the Freedom Walk "Register to Walk" logo, Barber said. Those not wanting to walk can sign up to be volunteers. About 2,000 volunteers are needed, she said. Registration is open to anyone and will end at 10 a.m. Sept. 9.
Participants are encouraged to arrive at the Pentagon South Parking lot between 7 and 8 a.m. The first 1,000 people to arrive will receive an official America Supports You campaign label pin.
America Supports You is a nationwide program launched by the Defense Department to recognize citizens' support for military men and women and communicate that support to members of the armed forces at home and abroad.