KILLEEN, Texas – Killeen Independent School District hosted its eighth annual freedom walk in partnership with Fort Hood at Killeen High School and Leo Buckley Stadium in Killeen, Texas, Sept. 11.
The “America Supports You” Freedom Walk is a national tradition calling on individuals to reflect on the lives lost on 9/11 and to honor veterans, past and present, while renewing the commitment to freedom, according to event organizers.
Attendees at this year’s freedom walk included district students and staff, as well as representatives of Fort Hood and the Killeen, Harker Heights and Nolanville police and fire departments.
The event honored soldiers with the Warrior Transition Brigade, area first responders and Fort Hood Gold Star Families, who are immediate family members who lost their loved ones in battle.
During the ceremony, hundreds of 1st Cavalry Division and WTB Soldiers, students, first responders, and community members performed a ceremonial march to and around the Leo Buckley Stadium track in honor of those who lost their lives during that fateful day 12 years ago.
Army 1st Lt. John Moody, a signal officer with Company B, 1st Battalion, WTB, and a Johnson City, Tenn., native, attended the event with fellow unit members.
“Today we’re here to show our support for KISD’s Freedom Walk in remembrance of 9/11,” Moody said. “The WTB has been coming to this event for several years, and it makes us feel very welcome and proud. 9/11 is very important to me. It’s good to have events like this to put first responders and military members in the spotlight.”
Col. Douglas Gabram, deputy commander of support for the 1st Cav. Div. and a Cleveland native, spoke during the event and expressed the nation’s unwavering persistence and steadfastness.
“Our nation was attacked by an enemy intent on destroying our beliefs, the defining characteristics of what it means to be an American; our very way of life,” Gabram said. “The terrorists who attacked us on our own soil that day wanted to shatter us, to weaken us, but they only strengthened our resolve and brought us together as a country.”
At the conclusion of the walk, attendees stood quietly as a bell was rung 11 times in honor of those who lost their lives during 9/11.
Afterward, Gold Star Families released gold and purple balloons to honor their fallen loved ones.
“Our fight must continue, and our resolve must be strong,” Gabram said. “I want to again thank each of you for taking time out of your day to come here, not only to remember why we continue to fight, but to remember the innocent people who lost their lives as a result of a cowardly act of terrorism and the sacrifice of those who have risen to settle the debt and protect our future.”