AT-TAQADDUM, Iraq --
AT-TAQADDUM, Iraq – Seven years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, service members and civilians aboard Camp Taqaddum continue to pay their respects to the victims during a memorial walk here Sept. 11.
More than 300 participants walked in the two-mile America Supports You Freedom Walk in remembrance of the ones who died on that fateful day.
“The America Supports You Freedom Walk is a national tradition that calls on people to reflect on the lives lost on September 11, 2001. Remember those who responded, honor our veterans past and present, and renew our commitment to freedom and the values of our country,” said Army 1st Sgt. Scott A. Ham, Company B first sergeant with 1st Squadron, 152nd Cavalry.
During the remembrance walk, participants had the opportunity to observe memorials of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and United Flight 93. The closing of the ceremony consisted of a tribute film of that tragic day.
“It’s motivating to be out here participating in the Freedom Walk,” said Cpl. Johnathan P. Mason, 21, combat engineer with 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 22nd Naval Reconstruction Regiment, from Bay Minette, Ala. “It gives everyone a chance to take a minute and remember why we are out here in Iraq.”
Even though the attacks shook the world seven years ago, the memory of those lost and the patriotism we shared that day will not be forgotten.
“Each year, the number of Freedom Walks throughout the nation grows as more people are moved to participate,” said Ham, 40, from New Albany, Ind. “The tradition was born when Pentagon employees, seeking a way to honor the victims of the attack on the Pentagon and their families and pay tribute to those who responded to that attack as well as those who serve, organized a walk from the Pentagon to the National Mall.”
Now, America Supports You Freedom Walks are taking place across the world in remembrance of the lives lost on 9/11. Ham explained that last year alone, there were 255 Freedom Walks in the U.S. with eight nations around the world also participating in the event.
Iraqi civilians who work aboard the base also participated in the Freedom Walk to commemorate those who perished. “I feel what their families feel because Iraqi people have the same problem with terrorists,” said Maria, 37, hair stylist here. “This is why I chose to help the U.S. military.”
No matter the nationality of the participants, they all came together to pay homage to the ones who fell.