Freedom Walk: Residents honor service members, first respondersTuesday marked the 11-year anniversary for a day that went down in infamy — the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Tuesday marked the 11-year anniversary for a day that went down in infamy — the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
At least two of the 70 or so people on the Tuesday’s Freedom Walk through downtown Jamestown recalled two other days they will never forget.
Roy Werner, retired U.S. Air Force staff sergeant with the 18th Fighter Squad, served from 1942-1945. He recalled the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941, as the most shocking attack ever on U.S. soil.
“But that kind of wore off and 9/11 really shook,” he said.
Werner walked part of the six-block route Tuesday evening in the Freedom Walk.
“I’m here to honor the people that were killed and those that helped people out that could be helped — to pay tribute to those that went beyond the call of duty,” he said.
Rod Munson, retired specialist, 24th Infantry, U.S. Army, remembered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, even though he was stationed in Germany at the time.
He also remembers hearing the news 11 years ago that the World Trade Center had been attacked.
“We were Realtors at an open house and we couldn’t believe it, they were showing a rerun (of the first tower falling) and we couldn’t believe it,” Munson said. “… It was such an impact I imagine everyone has a different story but that’s where I was.”
On Tuesday Munson was at the end of the line of people walking. He’s participated in the Freedom Walk every year except for the past two after the removal of a brain tumor hampered his mobility.
“I come back because I feel I am a patriot and I served my country in Germany and California and so on,” he said.
Sgt. Phil Kurtz, 817th Engineer Co. (Sapper), North Dakota National Guard, told his story before he took his four-year-old daughter Cadence’s hand for the walk.
He was already a member of the Guard and was working construction, putting siding on a house in Jamestown. The news came over the radio while the crew was on break.
“It didn’t seem real on the radio until we saw it, then it set in,” Kurtz said.
Much has changed since the Sept. 11 attacks, Kurtz had trouble naming the biggest changes for himself.
“So much has changed but on a day like today, looking back at it, 9/11 seems like it was yesterday,” he said.
Scott Edinger, Jamestown police chief, was the keynote speaker at an event after the walk. He discussed changes in law enforcement since the Sept. 11 attacks.
“There’s a lot of technology that has ensued in the last 11 years that allows us to share information across the state and country,” Edinger said.
More training is done now to prepare emergency responders to terrorist attacks, and the communication between local, state and federal agencies has also improved.
One example is how law enforcement now can communicate better and have more access to information in vehicles with high-speed Internet in all cars here.
This date 11 years ago started off in a haze for Edinger, who just finished working overnight as a member of the drug task force.
He had a couple hours of sleep before getting a call to wake up and turn on the TV to see the first tower falling.
“I thought ‘That’s not the World trade Center because there’s two towers,’” Edinger said before his speech.
He said he was grateful to speak at the event which was in honor of not only service members, but law enforcement, fire protection and medical responders.
“This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this,” Edinger said. “It’s an honor to be here and be selected for this.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455
or by email at email@example.com