On Sunday, the Nebraska chapter of "Honor and Remember", an organization dedicated to remembering those who lost their lives serving our country, sponsored a September 11th walk thanking local heroes along the way.
Gold Star Mom Pat Mracek participated in the walk. She lost her son Sgt. Cory Mracek in Iraq on January 26th, 2004.
“Cory decided to re-up in the Army after 9-11 because he said, "This is what I was trained to do. My country needs me,'” said Mracek.
An IED took the lives of Cory and two other soldiers only 8 days into his first overseas tour. He was 26 years old.
“I think Cory would say ‘Never forget me, never forget all the guys, never forget us on 9 11. Always remember us,’” admonished Mracek.
A hearty group of Nebraskans with Honor and Remember did that with a 26.2-mile marathon walk from Waterloo to downtown Omaha, starting at 7:30a.m.
Two participants walked the entire way, carrying the American and the Honor and Remember flags. Other walkers joined in or left along the way.
Jim Meier, director of the Nebraska chapter, organized today’s walk in honor of fallen first responders and service men throughout our nation’s history.
“We’re saying thank you to all those families and the fallen soldiers who gave us the right to have those freedoms and continue to. That should be remembered and honored,” said Meier.
The goal was 1.3 million steps for 1.3 million fallen heroes. Meier believed that with over 40 walkers already at the halfway point at 107th & Pacific, they would more than meet their goal.
Participants travelled along pacific street, stopping at fire stations to thank Omaha firefighters. They later walked through Elmwood Park to Memorial Park for a brief stop before moving downtown. The day ended with a ceremony at 5:30pm at the Heartland of America Park.
Firefighters appreciated the huge outpouring of support the walkers brought with them.
“People thanking us, hugging us, we got some roses, too, that were brought by. So we really appreciate the community support,” said Andy Bierbrauer, acting captain of Engine 56.
Even non-participants were showing up to honor their local heroes on September 11th. Kellie Hayworth and her family went for their own walk today and decided to pay engine 56 a surprise visit.
“We decided to thank them for their service and see a little bit about what they go through each day,” said Hayworth.
“I don’t think they ever get thanked enough. So, we’re quite happy to come here and tell them thank you,” said Mracek.