By Samantha Solliday

    Patriotic music filled the Killeen High School auditorium as community members, students, first responders, military personnel and Killeen ISD staff members and guests gathered to remember and honor those who sacrificed for our freedom.

    Monday marked the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that changed America forever. The 12th Annual Freedom Walk hosted by Killeen ISD commemorates the emergency first-responders who jumped into action that tragic day.

    A powerful documentary, “102 Minutes that Changed America,” chronicled the minute-by-minute account of the terrorist attacks using poignant statements from witnesses and emergency responders to illustrate how the shocking events unfolded.

    Killeen Police Department Chief Charles Kimble reflected on his experiences that day 17 years ago in Fayetteville, North Carolina and how it changed his life.

    “I walked into the police station in Fayetteville and someone stopped and asked me if I had heard about what happened in Manhattan,” he said. “We turned on the TV and I watched as the second plane flew into the South Tower.”

    From that moment on, Kimble said, the Fayetteville Police Department and nearby Fort Bragg became busy.

    “I am a military spouse,” he said. “My wife’s orders changed that day and she was shipped off, leaving me with two children, 6 and 4 to raise.”

    Kimble acknowledged and thanked those who continually give so much to their country and thanked those ordinary Americans who also serve.

    Following the formal ceremony, the Killeen High School drum line and Killeen Police Color Guard led the procession out the auditorium to adjacent Leo Buckley Stadium and completed a lap on the track in remembrance of those who served and continue to serve.

    “We walk today to show support for those who have suffered loss,” said KISD Superintendent John Craft. “We walk together to show that the strength of this great country is in all of us.”

    Eleven bell tolls rang out and Gold Star Family members released balloons in honor of those who have fought and continue to fight for freedom.

    “My heart fills with thankfulness,” said Angenet Wilkerson, KISD Director of Community Relations. “I am thankful to the Nolanville, Harker Heights and Killeen communities. We are all a part of this great country and we are united together.”

    September 11, 2017

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