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America Supports You: White Sands Hosts First 2006 Freedom Walk

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2006 – White Sands Missile Range, N.M., yesterday became the first U.S. city to hold a local Freedom Walk to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and honor veterans past and present.

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More than 30 military and civilian employees at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., gather for the Sept. 7 Freedom Walk to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and to honor veterans, past and present. Photo by Jose Salazar
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

More than 30 military and civilian employees at the massive range, named from the white sands that are spread over much of its property, gathered yesterday at Bell Gym for the first “3K/5K Freedom Walk,” said Rich Aguilar, a recreation aide at the post. The Civilian Welfare Fund and Morale, Welfare and Recreation office sponsored the event.

Bill Valez, White Sands’ sports director, explained the significance of the Freedom Walk to walkers and runners as they prepared to begin the course yesterday at 7:30 a.m. “He told us that this is an honorary event and part of a national activity,” Aguilar said.

White Sands’ Freedom Walk is among more than 120 local Freedom Walks being held in coming days around the country. The walks are being sponsored by local communities, civic groups, schools, churches and grassroots organizations.

That’s in addition to the second annual America Supports You Freedom Walk in Washington, D.C., which begins at the Washington Moment at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10 and follows a 2-mile path to the Pentagon. The 2005 America Supports You Freedom Walk attracted more than 15,000 participants, including family members who lost loved ones in the attacks.

Aguilar said he’s proud that White Sands Missile Range was the first to hold its 2006 Freedom Walk. “I’m proud to work here at White Sands Missile Range, and I’m particularly proud to know that we were the first,” he said.

Valez told participants the post’s Freedom Walk began an annual national tradition to reflect on the lives lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

More information about the Freedom Walk is posted on DoD’s America Supports You Web site.

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