Third annual Freedom Walk this Friday

Tue, 09/08/2009 - 3:31pm
By: The Citizen

Third annual Freedom Walk this Friday Caitlin Dillon, Freedom Walk organizer, sits behind the steering wheel of a WWII-era jeep along with Alex Gaddo riding shotgun after the 2008 walk. Photo/Special.

Nationally, it is called the “America Supports You Freedom Walk,” but it could be known in Peachtree City as the “United In Freedom” walk according to its local organizer, college freshman Caitlin Dillon.

“I want everyone who is involved in this event to know how important each of them is as individuals,” said Dillon. “I want every walker to remember what happened on September 11, 2001 not as a day of mourning but as a day to honor those who serve our country in such times – the military, the first responders and our leaders. It should be a day that we come together united in freedom as we did on September 11, 2001.”

The 3rd Annual Freedom Walk in Peachtree City will be held in conjunction with Patriot Day and the Amy Grant concert at the Frederick Brown Amphitheater on September 11th this year. The first Freedom Walk was started by employees at the Pentagon in 2005 to commemorate those who died on September 11, 2001, and it spread quickly to cities all across the nation.

Dillon, now a freshman at Columbus State University, still believes strongly in the principles that led her to organize the first Freedom Walk in Peachtree City when she was a junior at Sandy Creek High School in 2007.

“I have been greatly affected by what happened on September 11, 2001,” she said. “Four years after that tragic event my dad’s job as an air traffic controller changed significantly, which led my family to move to Georgia in 2005.”

The next year, Caitlin attended an “America Supports You Freedom Walk” in Newnan. It moved her so much that she decided Peachtree City needed one and proceeded to organize it for the next year. The city’s Patriot Day event organizer heard about her efforts and contacted her to discuss blending the two events together.

“I was impressed and motivated to see this high school junior so passionate about her patriotism and her drive to rally others that I thought it would be a great fit for our two events to coincide,” said Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine who has organized local Patriot Day events since 2002. Patriot Day is, by Presidential Proclamation, a day to nationally remember those who died on September 11, 2001. In 2007, the Peachtree City Freedom Walk drew about 100 people, a number that nearly doubled in 2008.

Dillon, who has family members currently serving in the Armed Forces, said it is an honor to organize this event. “My grandfather reminded me after the first walk that I did a good job, but the men and women fighting right now are doing an even better job. They are the heroes to the world for their sacrifices.”

The walk will begin at 6:45 p.m. at the Towne Club near the intersection of Peachtree Parkway and Crosstown Drive in Peachtree City. The one-mile walk will end at The Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater, where the Patriot Day celebration takes place prior to the opening act at approximately 8 p.m. Following will be a Concert by Amy Grant at 9 p.m. Discount ticket prices are available for those who join the Freedom Walk.

Golf carts will be available to assist those who cannot easily walk. Walkers planning to take advantage of the discount concert tickets are encouraged to have someone drop them off at the Towne Club for the start of the walk and have their vehicle parked at the Fred. A shuttle bus will be available at the Fred to return walkers to their vehicles if they park them at the Towne Club.

Those interested in walking can register their name and how many will be attending with them by email at Individuals who would like to help in other ways can also go to that email or call Caitlin Dillon 770-880-8239 for more information. For more information about the Amy Grant concert call the Fred at 770-631-0630.

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