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VIDEO: Saturday run pays tribute to 9/11
Heroes Run
Samuel Middleton of Think Big Youth Organization walks the path at Bryant Commons on Saturday morning.

Runners and walkers gathered Saturday morning at a misty Bryant Commons, all in remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Travis Manion Foundation and the Think Big Youth Organization joined forces for the Heroes 9/11 Shadow Run, which is part of the Travis Manion Foundation’s national effort.

“This is our chapter’s first time doing it,” said Ariel Sullivan of the Travis Manion Foundation. “We’re super excited.”

Manion was a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps killed in action in Iraq’s Al-Anbar province, suffering a fatal wound after pulling a comrade out of the line of fire. His family started the foundation in his honor to commemorate his legacy and push to inspire people in the community, Sullivan said.

Manion’s motto was “if not me, then who?”

“We’ve been pushing that ethos in the community and this is one of the ways we do it in the community,” Sullivan said.

“He lived that motto,” said Samuel Middleton of Think Big Youth.

Middleton said he was moved by Manion’s creed.

“When I heard about the foundation, I looked up the foundation and began to explore and I was inspired by the things they were talking about,” he said.

That led to Think Big Youth partnering with the Travis Manion Foundation.

“I think character is needed in today’s society, especially for our youth,” Middleton said.

Middleton recalled where he was on the morning of 9/11. Freshly out of the military after 12 years of service, he watched the events in New York City, Virginia and Pennsylvania unfold on television.

“I had just gotten off work,” he said. “I was sitting on my couch and saw it on TV. So it means a lot to me. It means a lot to me to be able to give back to the community and to remember those who passed on.”

Sullivan was 6 years old and living in South Korea, where her father was stationed at Osan Air Force Base.

“I woke up thinking I was going to go to school,” she said. “I picked out my outfit, and I never got to do that. My mom said, ‘we’re not going to school today. We’re on lockdown.’”

As she too watched on television, Sullivan thought “this has to be a movie. This can’t be real,” she said. “My mom said, ‘no, this is real.’”

Sullivan said Saturday’s run was important to the community and the nation.

“We are here to honor the people who were in the middle of all those intense moments and gave their lives and aren’t here to join us today,” she said. “We are here to honor the people who even after that day continue to wake up, put on their uniforms, take their oaths and go out and protect our community and our nation as a whole.”


VIDEO: Travis Manion Foundation-Think Big Youth 9/11 run

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