Illinois Town Holds Freedom Walk, Festival

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2006 - The northwestern suburbs of Chicago will hold a Freedom Walk on Sept. 9 to remember the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and to honor the nation's veterans, past and present.

"We just really feel that on this five-year anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, it's extremely important that we honor, in a very visible way, the victims of 9/11, ... our military and our police and firefighters," Dirk Beveridge, the event's lead organizer, said.

The walk will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Metra train station in downtown Barrington. The walk will be about a quarter of a mile long. Participants are encouraged to arrive early to take part in Family Freedom Festival prior to the walk. The festival begins at noon, with entertainment provided by the "Spirit of the USO" band. It is hosted by "We Do Care," a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the community find tangible ways to support active-duty military, veterans and military families.

While everyone is encouraged to join in the walk, children are being asked to lead this Freedom Walk and will carry a U.S. flag that has flown in Afghanistan. The walk will conclude at the main stage of the Family Freedom Festival. The flag will be raised as children lead the crowd in the national anthem.

Beveridge is We Do Care's founder. The organization is a member of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, which highlights corporate and grassroots support for U.S. servicemembers and their families.

"We know most people are asking the question, 'What can I do to help our troops?'" he said. "And our family-oriented Freedom Festivals allow them to meet great organizations to adopt soldiers, send care packages, write notes and letters, thank veterans and Gold Star families, and even help military families in need."

He said the timing of the walk is appropriate. "As we approach the fifth anniversary of 9/11, now is the time to reflect upon and pay tribute to those protecting our country and fighting the war against terrorism," Beveridge said. "This family-spirited event is a fun way to get the entire family involved in the celebration of our freedom, our way of life, and the goodness of America."

More than 120 Freedom Walks are planned is all 50 states to remember those who lost their lives on Sept. 11 and to honor America's military veterans, past and present. The America Supports You program is sponsoring the main Freedom Walk in Washington, D.C., which takes place Sept. 10. The first America Supports You Freedom Walk was held Sept. 11, 2005, in Washington.

Information for people interested in organizing Freedom Walks in their communities is available at the America Supports You Freedom Walk Web site.

Registration to walk in the Barrington Freedom Walk is not necessary, Beveridge said. However, if a group, team or club is interested in participating in the Barrington walk, a representative should contact Beveridge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

"It's time to remember and come together as a country," he said. "It's also important to honor those who are still continuing to take care of us."

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