Sunday, 19/11/2017 | : : UTC-5
Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Harker Heights Remembers 9/11

Sara Escobar

Evening Star

September 11, 2001 is a day that was “felt around the world”—a defining moment in our countries’ history, each passing year is a stark reminder of the tragedy that took place on 9/11. In its aftermath, we hold this day close to our hearts to remember and honor the fallen. This year served as the 12th annual “Freedom Walk” in Killeen, Fort Hood, Harker Heights and Nolanville. The walk allows school districts, businesses and civilians to come together and pay tribute to local soldiers and first responders, as well as to remember the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks that took place on 9/11.

Courtesy Photo
Students and community leaders participated in the 12th annual Freedom Walk at Leo Buckley Stadium on Monday, September 11, 2017.

The event began at 9 a.m. in the Killeen High School Auditorium and continued with a processional adjacent to Leo Buckley Stadium and a walk to celebrate freedom. As a finale, Gold Star families, or families who have lost loved ones to war, released balloons. Police units from Killeen, Harker Heights and Nolanville joined military personnel during the Freedom Walk, along with students from the district’s four high schools. In conjunction with the walk, schools throughout the area held assemblies to remember the tragedy to honor America, as well as its heroes.
Killeen Police Department Chief Charles Kimble and Killeen ISD Director of Community Relations Angenet Wilkerson were both guest speakers at the event, and made humbling comments about what this day meant to them. “We never get over the tragedy,” said Wilkerson, “but we grow through it. Our unity is our strength. It makes us strong.” Wilkerson went on to discuss why we not only remember the first responders who were dispatched during 9/11, but to honor our military as well. “We commemorate those who sacrificed and our first responders who sacrifice daily. But not only that, we are unique because we also serve our soldiers; we are so blessed to have Fort Hood as our neighbor.”
During last year’s event, Harker Heights Police Chief Michael Gentry also pointed out the heroic efforts of everyday American civilians who come to the aid of those in danger.
“It was the loss of our innocence,” said Becky Gipson, a resident of Beaumont, Texas. “It had a deep effect on my three sons, who all are affiliated in the military in some way.”
“America stood still that day,” recalls Angelica Clubb, a resident of Killeen. “For one heartbreaking moment, we all felt the same thing at the same time. We should never forget how we felt that day or the Americans that lost their lives. We are forever changed because of this day.”
“Like millions of other people, I hold these thousands of souls lost close to my heart,” says Kristoffer Celera, a former resident of Killeen. “It doesn’t matter if I never personally knew a single person robbed of their life that day, all I need to know is that they were American and that the attack on them was an attack meant for all of us, to strike fear into our hearts. Like others, I hold this day in remembrance, but on a personal note, I also hold it as a warning. To not let shock, sorrow or even righteous anger disfigure itself into a blind rage. We have to stand by our fellow Americans, and that’s what we need to remember.”

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