Freedom Walk at Reagan Library to honor victims of 9/11
By Michele Willer-Allred
More than 1,000 participants are expected this week in Simi Valley for the annual Freedom Walk on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
This is the fifth year the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum will host the America Supports You Freedom Walk to honor the victims of 9/11 as well as troops overseas and war veterans.
The Freedom Walk is also sponsored by Military Connection, an online information resource for all branches of the military.
The America Supports You Freedom Walk was created in 2005 to establish a national tradition of remembrance of the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. More than 1,500 people participated in last year's Freedom Walk at the Reagan Library.
This year's 1.8 mile walk will go from the library, at 40 Presidential Drive, to Rancho Madera Community Park 556 Lake Park Drive, off Wood Ranch Parkway. The walk is one of many that will occur throughout the nation that day.
The walk is free, but registration is required. Refreshments will be available at the park, and walkers will be shuttled back to the library after the event. The Air National Guard Band of the Southwest is providing post-program musical entertainment at the park.
The events begins at 5 p.m. and will include guest appearances and speeches by actor Gary Sinise, founder of the Gary Sinise Charitable Foundation; Capt. James J. McHugh, commander of the Naval Base Ventura County; and Scott Strauss, former chief of the Mineola Volunteer Fire Department.
Strauss, who worked for the New York Police Department's SWAT and rescue teams, was off duty on 9/11 when he drove directly to lower Manhattan after the first plane hit and became a key figure in the three-hour rescue of Will Jimeno and Sgt. John McLoughlin, former Port Authority police officers who were trapped beneath the World Trade Center rubble.
The heroic efforts of Strauss and his fellow rescue workers are depicted in Oliver Stone's 2006 movie “World Trade Center.”
Through Sept. 30, the library, in conjunction with Simi Valley-based “For The Troops,” will also be collecting items in the Reagan Library's main lobby for U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Items must be unwrapped and in original packaging, and can include packets of trail mix, peanuts, gum, hard candy and beef jerky; snacks that are not heat sensitive and will not melt in hot temperatures; individual packets of Lemonade or Crystal Light for water bottles; CDs and DVDs; used video games; AA batteries; stationery; and pre-paid phone cards. Only miniature hygiene items will be accepted.
To register for the Freedom Walk, go to http://su.pr/2YiOfA.
The first 1,000 people who register for the walk will receive a “Freedom Walk” T-shirt and an American flag.