URL: http://www.venturacountystar.com/vcs/sv/article/0,1375,VCS_239_4969098,00.html

Freedom Walk to commemorate 9/11

Simi to join more than 110 U.S. cities in inaugural event

By Anna Bakalis, [email protected]
September 5, 2006

Simi Valley will host a 1.8-mile Freedom Walk to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to show support for the nation’s military personnel.

The community will join more than 110 across the nation in the first America Supports You Freedom Walk.

“We all have different emotions about 9/11,” said Debbie Gregory, an organizer of the local walk. “But this is a really good way to honor the victims as well as soldiers.”

The idea comes from America Supports You, a Department of Defense initiative that supports U.S. troops throughout the world.

In Simi Valley, it is being organized by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum and Military Connection, an Internet-based resource group for service members and their families. Gregory is president of Military Connection and a member of America Supports You.

“I wanted to do this because people are putting their lives on the line for us,” Gregory said of the walk.

She hopes more than 1,000 people will put on their sneakers and meet at the Reagan Library on Monday.

The event begins at 5 p.m. atop Presidential Drive. Water will be provided by local sponsors, and light refreshments will be offered by the library.

Shuttles will be offered to those who cannot walk to the bottom of the hill. Traffic control will be provided by the Simi Valley Police Department and teen volunteers.

The walk will end at Rancho Madera Community Park on Wood Ranch Parkway. Shuttles will take people back to the library.

Several speakers are anticipated, including Army Capt. Brandon Teague, who has completed four tours of duty in Iraq. In 2004, he took command of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. In 2002, he conducted 25 combat air assault missions, capturing numerous insurgents and weapons caches. He has earned a Silver Star, Bronze Star and other medals.

Teague now goes around the country and talks to groups about what it was like serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Capt. Teague exemplifies what the Freedom Walk is about,” Gregory said. “We’re very fortunate to have him.”

The first 750 people to register for the walk will get a free Freedom Walk T-shirt and an American flag. To register, visit https://militaryconnection.com or call 306-0580.