By Alan Shope, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -
Sept. 11 is a day no one will ever forget, and each year organizations start new ways to honor the day.
One tradition that started 11 years ago is still going strong today. It was shortly after Sept. 11 that the Patriots' Run was born and Tuesday, it grew larger than ever.
Kansas City, KS, resident and U.S. Army Veteran Kevin McAfee was out shopping 11 years ago Tuesday.
"There was a bunch of commotion, everyone was looking at their TVs in there," McAfee said.
He thought the world was about to end.
"I'll tell you what was going through my mind was, ‘How could this have happened?'" McAfee said.
It was a day no one in this country will ever forget, but we had to keep moving forward. That's what the Patriots' Run is all about.
"We never want to forget what happened on 9/11. We want to thank and honor all of those men and women that serve our country," run organizer Mary Van Dorp said.
Nearly 600 runners met at the Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe, KS, to run and keep running for nine hours and 11 minutes, for themselves, their country and close friends. Some ran the entire time, covering 48 miles, while others turned out for a few laps.
"I'm out here because I do have a bunch of friends in Afghanistan, and I'm running for them," runner Allie Engel from Overland Park said. "It's like there's a part of me that's over there and a part of them that's over here."
Their sweat and determination is appreciated by those in uniform.
"It means a lot, you know people thank you all the time when you are on post, but it's another thing to actually be out here and spend nine hours of your time running for a good cause like this," Joe Maine McCastle from Fort Leavenworth said.
"It just shows the togetherness of this country. It's a beautiful thing; it's good to be a part of it," McAfee said. "It just really feels good to be a part of something like this."
Runners began at noon and will keep running into 9:11 p.m. Tuesday. All proceeds from the day's event go to the Salvation Army.
But this wasn't the only local ceremony marking Sept. 11. The Overland Park chapter of the Shriners held a rare open meeting Tuesday night.
Organizers say Sept. 11 has a special meaning to a group made up of several military members and first responders.
"We go through our lives and don't take the time to remember what they do. It's very important we take the time to remember them on 9/11," said Frank Schveninger with Abdallah Shrine in Overland Park.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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