'Freedom Walk' to Commemorate 9/11, Celebrate Freedom
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2005 The Defense Department today announced the first "America Supports You Freedom Walk" to honor the victims of 9/11 and America's military personnel, as well as to celebrate freedom.
The Freedom Walk will begin at 10 a.m. Sept. 11 in the Pentagon South parking lot, near the site where the airliner crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. The walk route will consist of a two-mile trek that will end by the reflecting pool on the National Mall, where a free concert featuring country music star Clint Black will take place.
"I am proud and honored to be part of the America Supports You Freedom Walk to honor the victims of 9/11 and to support our men and women in uniform," Black said.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made the announcement today at the Pentagon.
"Every year since the Sept. 11 attacks, Americans have commemorated that anniversary. This year the Department of Defense will initiate an American Supports You Freedom Walk. The walk will begin at the Pentagon and end at the National Mall. It will include many of the major monuments in Washington, D.C., reminding participants of the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation that have so successfully defended our freedoms," Rumsfeld said.
"America Supports You" is a nationwide program launched by the Defense Department with the goal of highlighting how Americans across the country are supporting the men and women of the armed forces.
There will also be a private ceremony for the families of the 9/11 victims prior to the walk.
To avoid long lines, America Supports You Freedom Walk participants are encouraged to arrive at the Pentagon South parking lot between 7 and 8 a.m. According to the Freedom Walk Web site, the first 1,000 people to arrive will receive an official America Supports You campaign lapel pin.
Participants also are encouraged to take the Metro to either the Pentagon or Pentagon City stations and follow the signs to the Freedom Walk staging area.
The walk was made possible with the help of several local in-kind supporters, including Stars and Stripes newspaper, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Subway, Washington Post, Lockheed Martin, WTOP, ABC/WJLA-TV Channel 7 and News Channel 8, and the Washington Convention & Tourism Corporation, according to the Freedom Walk Web site.
The goal for next year's walk is to get each state to host its own Freedom Walk to provide an opportunity for as many citizens as possible to reflect on the importance of freedom, according to a DoD press release.
Those wishing to walk in this year's Freedom Walk can register online by visiting www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil and clicking on the Freedom Walk icon. Volunteer opportunities also are available online. Registration is open until 10 a.m. Sept. 9.