9/11 Memorial Walk Helps Veterans Feel at Home
Sep 29, 2016 01:44PM
By Kelly Cannon
Residents take turns walking with a flag to honor victims of 9/11. (Jason Comstock/Team Red, White and Blue)
By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]
Dozens of residents gathered on Sept. 10 at Draper Park to pay tribute not only to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks 15 years ago but to help members of the military feel connected to their communities. Team Red, White and Blue held a special flag walk, called a Moving Tribute, where people walked around the park carrying an American flag. The procession lasted from dawn till dusk and concluded with a special concert with the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra at Draper Park Middle School.
The local chapter of Team Red, White and Blue, headquartered in Salt Lake City, has conducted these Moving Tributes for the past three years. This was the first time it was in Draper Park. The previous two years, it was at the Sandy Healing Fields at the Sandy City Promenade.
“We’ve encouraged all of our team members all over the country to do something to commemorate this day. So many of our veterans served as a result of 9/11. We also wanted that opportunity to thank law enforcement and first responders and fire department, because a lot of our veterans come home and they go into those fields,” Jason Comstock, a representative of the Salt Lake chapter, said. “We wanted that opportunity to remember that day and remind our teammates and our community members of what that day is all about.”
Comstock said the mission of Team Red, White and Blue is to enrich the lives of veterans through connecting them with their community through social and physical activities. The organization does a lot of things to help people get out and get moving.
“We’ve seen a lot of healing that comes from exercise and getting back into your community. So we set this up so people could come out and get up and move and carry a flag around the park,” Comstock said. “We were there all day so people could come at any time that worked for them.”
While representatives from Team Red, White and Blue walked the entire day, members of the community came in to take a turn with the flag.
“We had families show up with their small children and they’d do three laps around the park. They went for about 45 minutes,” Comstock said. “And then there were other people who didn’t have as much time so they only did one lap.”
This was the first year Team Red, White and Blue worked in conjunction with the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra to also provide a concert at the end of the day. Comstock described it as a great experience.
“We decided to partner with them because we have a lot of different team members who do a lot of different things and we thought those who couldn’t carry the flag or couldn’t walk around the park, they could still kind of participate and enjoy the concerts,” he said.
Comstock said he hoped the Moving Tribute helped people not only remember the tragedy of Sept. 11 but also remember the patriotism the country saw. He also hoped people would get out and know their veterans.
“That’s the way we recover from some of the experiences we’ve had. We get back into our community and we get reintegrated,” Comstock said. “When appropriate, we share our stories and let them know that we’re regular people who had the opportunity to, sometimes, do an extraordinary job.”
To learn more about Team Red, White and Blue, visit teamrwb.org.