ATLANTA - An estimated 70 people took part in a 5K race through Atlanta's Historic Oakland Cemetery, Sept. 14, in honor of Patriot Day.
"I ran the race for the cause. Generally, I only race down at my school," said Emily Davis, Georgia Southern University Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps, a native of Paulding County.
Davis said she heard about the race on Facebook and giving to wounded veterans was what really made her want to participate.
Organizers said the new event, which was one of many in various cities across the country, helped raise money for numerous charities including the 9/11 Tribute Center, Colon Cancer Project and 9/12 Generation Project.
President George W. Bush created Patriot Day in remembrance and service in honor of those who were victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The goal was to bring communities together and shed light on the issue of what it means to be patriotic, said David Forsyth, on-site race director.
Bringing people together is just what the 9/12 Generation Project is all about, said Mia Toschi, co-director of the service-learning organization that teaches middle and high school students about 9/11 though the kind acts on 9/12.
"It's important to teach the history of 9/11 but it's also important to share the stories of the heroes, the volunteers who came to New York, and the people who stood in lines to give their own blood," Toschi said. "The world came together on 9/12 and proved it is possible to overcome tragedy through hope. Students in middle and high school don't remember 9/11 but the positive lessons of patriotism can educate youth about the tragic day in a positive way."
By getting involved in service, the organization teaches the students to "pay it forward," said Toschi.
There were about 70 participants at the race, while 50 of those participants raced. People came from communities throughout Georgia, like Statesboro, Warner Robins and Columbus.
There were veterans, active duty members and civilians that came out in support of the event. There were also a few airmen who came to volunteer to help set up the race.
Forsyth hopes that as the years continue, their efforts will continue to reach the community and help others understand what Patriot Day is.
"The patriot Day 5k run is an important reminder that helping others can change the world," said Toschi.
Sometimes it can take two or three years to actually get the word out about races, said Forsyth.
"I loved the military support and they did a fantastic job," he said. "We would love to have everyone back next year."