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They marched on for freedom

Navy veteran and Americal Legion post 245 member Fred Reitmeyer joined dozens of other community members and city staff for the Freedon Walk from the Poulsbo Parks building through downtown Thursday. - Brad Camp/Staff photo
Navy veteran and Americal Legion post 245 member Fred Reitmeyer joined dozens of other community members and city staff for the Freedon Walk from the Poulsbo Parks building through downtown Thursday.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff photo

Poulsbo’s first Freedom Walk attracts nearly 60 participants.

POULSBO — An unplanned moment of silence occurred in downtown Poulsbo Thursday afternoon. Traffic came to a halt while nearly 60 Freedom Walk marchers crossed the intersection of Front Street and Jensen Way. North Kitsap and Poulsbo fire engines and crew members stood alongside the road as First Lutherans’ church bells chimed in the distance.

The walkers, part of American Legion Post 245’s first America Supports You event, gathered to remember the nearly 3,000 people killed during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as well as honor those who serve or served in the military. Many in the march wore patriotic colors, uniforms and carried American flags.

Before advancing from Poulsbo Parks and Recreation, from which the group eventually progressed to American Legion Park, Poulsbo Police Chief Dennis Swiney spoke about the significance of those who serve to keep others safe.

“Today we honor those public servants who, at a moment’s notice, respond to calls for help and put themselves in potentially dangerous situations,” he said, urging citizens not to grow complacent and shrug off the site of passing emergency workers and vehicles.

“Let’s be proud and remember the sacrifice,” he added, “remember we can have an impact on the future.”

The future was present Thursday: A trail of young Martha & Mary preschoolers followed in the walkers footsteps, despite the fact they weren’t yet alive when the World Trade Center towers fell.

“I think it’s a great way of remembering those that gave their lives that day,” Poulsbo Fire Battalion Chief Bruce Peterson said, while awaiting the small parade at American Legion Park. Peterson’s served with the department for 22 years. “We don’t really consider ourselves heroes. We love what we do and those guys (New York City fire fighters) did the same thing.”

Poulsbo Fire Chief Dan Olson spoke to the unification of the nation on a day when even opposing presidential candidates came together to remember.

“Over 3,000 people lost their lives that day, 3,100 children lost their parents. It is important to remember that each one of those individuals lost had hopes and dreams of a future,” he said. “Today we honor those by coming together. What was meant to divide us has actually made us stronger.”

America Supports You walks occur globally on Sept. 11. The organization is one that also supports military family and returning war wounded. For more information, visit www.americasupportsyou.mil.

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