New Hampshire Citizens Honor 9/11 Victims, Veterans
By Andy Friedrich
Special to American Forces Press Service
JACKSON, N.H., Sep. 11, 2006 On the west side of the historic Jackson Covered Bridge, built in 1836, nearly 100 residents and visitors of the Mount Washington Valley gathered yesterday to participate in a Freedom Walk here.
Participants included adults, school-age children and young ones still in strollers.
The sky was nearly cloudless and blue, the setting sun a bright orange and red, and the air crisp.
At 6:30 p.m. the chairman of Jackson's selectmen, Gino Funicello, welcomed the walkers and lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a minute of silence in honor of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and the military servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the global war on terrorism. The walkers sang "God Bless America" before lining up behind the American flag carried by Vietnam veteran and Army reservist Bob O'Conner.
Many of the walkers carried small American flags and candles as they trekked the one-mile loop starting and ending at the wooden covered bridge.
Kathleen Merrill, director of the Jackson/Bartlett Chamber of Commerce, called the event a success considering that this was the first Sept. 11 event held in this area.
As the participants ended their walk, the last rays of the sun now already behind the crests of the White Mountains turned the edges of the few ragged clouds into a bright hue of orange.
Merrill pledged to make this walk a new tradition for the Mount Washington Valley.
"We are going to make this event even better next year with some music, perhaps a small marching band, and I am going to start planning for next year's walk six months ahead of time," she said.
The event was just one of more than 120 Freedom Walk’s held across the country between Sept. 9 and 11. This and similar events are patterned after national Freedom Walk in Washington, D.C., Sept. 10. The national event is sponsored by the Defense Department's America Supports You program, which highlights corporate and grassroots organizations support the nation's men and women in uniform.
(Andy Friedrich works for the Pentagon Channel.)