9-mile run will reflect on 9/11

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~ PVN staff report

STANLEY — On Saturday morning, a group of runners will carry an American flag from the Stanley Fire Department to the Luray Fire Department along Route 340 with a half-dozen stops in between.

The event’s theme will be printed on T-shirts handed out to participants: “Remember 9/11, Strength and Honor.”

“Our hope is that people will see us, see the flag of our magnificent United States streaming as we hold it high, and see the message emblazoned upon our shirts…and that they’ll pause their activities and turn their thoughts for a moment to reflect upon 9/11 and how it changed us all, as individuals and as a country,” organizer Kevin Moses stated in an announcement of Saturday’s event. “Most importantly, that maybe this event will help people to reflect about the immeasurable sacrifices made by so many on and since that fateful day two decades ago.”

On Sept. 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked on the East Coast and redirected on suicide missions to attack symbols of the U.S. — the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center, representing our financial strength; the Pentagon, marking our military might; and the U.S. Capitol, the center of our government, was believed to be the intended target of a plane that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Of the 2,977 victims of the terrorist attacks that day, 412 were first responders, including 343 firefighters.

Participants in Saturday’s event will meet at the Stanley Fire Hall at 8 a.m. After shirts are handed out and final details are put in place, Moses will address the crowd, reflect on the events of 20 years ago, and offer “a prayer of protection for our runners and for our country, and also a prayer for peace, healing and comfort for all those who’ve been affected by the terrible attacks of 9/11.”

An American flag will be raised to half-staff at the Stanley Fire Hall, saluted, and then lowered and place on the pole that will be carried by runners during the event. At precisely 8:46 a.m. — the time the first plane struck the Twin Towers — the flag’s nine-mile journey will begin.

Among the stops being made during the run to the Luray Fire Hall:

• 9/11 Memorial in Stanley’s Ed Good Park;

• Antioch Independent Bible Church;

• Page County War Memorial at the Page County Courthouse;

• Page County Sheriff’s Office;

• Luray Police Department;

• Luray American Legion Post.

According to the event’s organizer, the runners will stop at each location to hoist the flag to half-mast and salute it, before lowering it and continuing the journey. At the end of the run, the flag will be presented to the Luray Fire Department.

Runners may run the entire length of the course, or run a mile or two and rest in the bed of the pickup truck shuttle. Motorists along Route 340 on Saturday morning (especially those traveling southbound) are asked to watch for runners, who will be traveling northbound, single-file on the southbound shoulder of the road.

The public is invited to gather at any point of the race or a scheduled stop along the route to help commemorate this event.

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