Many will quietly and somberly remember 9/11 on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed over 3,000 Americans. Indiana resident Karen Hall will do it a bit more loudly, leading a caravan of patriots across the country with the flags of each of America’s 50 states sailing out their windows.
It was three days after 9/11 when Hall first rallied a similar flag parade together in Key West, Florida, where she was living at the time. In an effort fueled by passion and love of country, Hall gathered a group of local Floridians to walk down the street holding high their American flags to show support and honor for the United States.
Coincidentally, a biker rally was happening in Key West that day and many in the crowd joined the parade, forming what Hall called an “honor guard” around her group of marchers. The event caught the attention of others eager to do something to stand up for their recently attacked country.
Since that day in 2001, Hall has been pondering an even bigger event to mark the tenth anniversary of the attacks. An event, she says, that will “show that every state across America has not forgotten and never will.”
Her quest to honor this day 10 years later underscores the reality that the fight is not over and the threat has not ceased. America must remain on guard.
The nation has undergone tremendous changes in how we do business on homeland security since September 11, 2001. There have been a number of successes. However, the biggest challenges remain. Namely, we must overcome the challenges associated with centralization, complacency, and politics if we are to stay ahead in the war on terrorism and build a healthy homeland security enterprise capable of tackling the threats we face.
Hall’s event, officially called “The 9/11 10th Anniversary Flag Promenade” has gained the attention of local media and has a quickly growing Facebook page as well. It’s been featured on Oprah’s “Dream Board” Web site, and a 9/11 plaque to be hung in the Pentagon will feature the names of Hall and several others involved in the “Promenade” effort.
After the trip across the country, which Hall hopes will attract more and more people along the way, the caravan will make a pit stop in Indiana on September 8 for a festival to promote the event with food, music, speakers, and—of course—flags. Then the group will then pack up for a three-stop trip to Washington, Pennsylvania, and New York City to pay tribute at the attacked areas.
Hall emphasized that her event is not politically related and that she hopes to represent a nation standing united together saying, “We can’t let this happen again.” She was re-inspired to make the event happen with the killing of Osama bin Laden. That occurrence, too, reminds America of the work required to maintain freedom. The job is never done.
As Heritage President Ed Feulner wrote the day after bin Laden’s death:
That full range of tools must be applied to the United States’ continued efforts against terrorism in Afghanistan and around the world. Bin Laden’s death is a demoralizing blow against al-Qaeda that could be followed up by additional strikes against other al-Qaeda leaders. But though this is a significant achievement, much work remains.
Hall is still gathering the final details for her cross-country trip, but attention for the cause is growing. Indiana Senator Richard Lugar and State Senator Brent Steele have both supported it by sending official Indiana flags for the journey.
One woman’s inspiration to honor 9/11 heroes and never forget that fateful day demonstrates the kind of everlasting diligence it takes to protect and preserve freedom for generations to come.