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Community observes 9/11, honors heroes
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Community and military leaders, police, firefighters, first responders, soldiers and families walk in the fifth annual Freedom Walk Friday on Fort Stewart. - photo by Denise Etheridge

Go to to watch a video of the fifth annual Freedom Walk on Fort Stewart.

Ten years ago our country lost its innocence in a matter of minutes on a warm September day. What at first appeared to be a tragic accident actually was a synchronized string of heinous attacks by a previously unknown and zealous enemy. Close to 3,000 lives were lost Sept. 11, 2001.

In the aftermath of 9/11, countless young men and women went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Here in Liberty County most residents will stop and remember those who perished on and because of 9/11.

East Liberty County American Legion Post 321 in Midway will hold a 10th anniversary 9/11 observance and a flag retirement and disposal ceremony at 6 p.m. today at the old Midway Church on Highway 17 and Martin Road in Midway. Police, firefighters and other first responders are invited. This afternoon the 10th annual 9/11 ride will leave from the old Shoney’s parking lot in Flemington and go for about 40 miles. Registration starts at 2 p.m. The registration fee is $10. Call 210-3939.

The Hinesville City Council adopted a resolution during a regular meeting Sept. 1, to observe a moment of remembrance for one full minute at 1 p.m. today by “ceasing all work or other activity and marking the moment in an appropriate manner.” City officials said alarms and sirens would be sounded.

On Friday, several hundred people participated in the fifth annual Freedom Walk on Fort Stewart. The Freedom Walk is a national program that began six years ago in Washington, D.C., and is held in more than 300 communities across the United States, according to Fort Stewart public affairs. The event commemorates the 9/11 attacks and offers citizens an opportunity to unite with service members, veterans, police, firefighters and other first responders.

“It’s just a great opportunity to remember those who take care of us,” Fort Stewart public affairs officer Dina McCain said.

Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Milton, Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas and Liberty County Commission Chairman John McIver spoke during an observance before Freedom Walk participants began their trek down Gulick Avenue.

Area fire departments also displayed emergency vehicles along 6th Street, for walkers to view before the walk.

Standing next to Pink Heals Tour fire truck “Gigi” was Fort Stewart firefighter Shane Shifflett. He was a Maryland firefighter in 2001. He assisted in recovery after the attack on the Pentagon.

“We all gathered as volunteers the next morning on 9/12 and made our way down to the scene where it really hit home,” he said. “We can’t forget we lost 343 brothers and sisters (at the World Trade Center) that day.”

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