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Ridgeland Fire Department to host 9/11 ceremony and heroes run

First responders participate in Ridgeland’s Run to Remember 2013. Photo credit: Sissy Lynn

The Ridgeland Fire Department will be hosting a 9/11 Ceremony and a 9/11 Heroes Run at Northpark Mall on Monday, Sept. 11 to honor and remember those who lost their lives on and since that day in our history. The run will benefit the Travis Manion Foundation which empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.

The ceremony will start at 8:15 a.m. at the intersection of Northpark Drive and Ring Road at Northpark Mall. The patriotic ceremony will feature a guest speaker, vocal performance by the Air National Guard Quartet, posting of the colors by the Mississippi State Fire Academy Honor Guard, ringing of the bell by the Ridgeland Fire Honor Guard, bagpipes and more. Recruiters from all branches of the military will be present. Junior ROTC students are encouraged to attend as well as anyone interested in the military.

The Ridgeland Fire Department has partnered with the Travis Manion Foundation for the 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race and 1M fun run/walk. The race will unite the community to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost on 9/11, as well as to honor our military and first responders that serve our country and our communities. The Ridgeland race was organized by Ridgeland Fire Department Captain Todd Yelverton. He has been organizing annual 9/11 events for these last 16 years.

“We just don’t want people to forget,” said Yelverton. “We want to encourage everyone to come out who is available that morning and join together in remembering those who lost their lives in 9/11 and since that time while serving our country.”

Captain Todd Yelverton holding the satchel of victim’s names from Sept. 11, 2001.

“The event will be very special. It will include representation of all branches of the military and first responders, there will be ringing of the bell, a flyover, patriotic music and other meaningful activities. It is an opportunity for many of us to remember this significant time in our country’s history, and the event presents an experience for younger residents to develop a greater understanding of the meaning of 9/11. We hope lots of people come to the ceremony or the run or both.”

The 9/11 Heroes Run series was inspired by Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, who was killed by a sniper in Iraq in April 2007 as he selflessly protected his battalion. Before his final deployment, Travis visited Rescue One in NYC—famous for losing almost all of their men on 9/11—and returned home with deeper passion about why he was fighting in Iraq. At its heart, the 9/11 Heroes Run is a tribute to a personal commitment to never forget the heroes of that day. In its eighth year, the 9/11 Heroes Run national race series will be held in more than 50 locations around the U.S. and the world.

“Knowing that so many people gave their lives during the 9/11 attacks touched my brother Travis in a way that would forever change him,” said Ryan Manion Borek, President of Travis Manion Foundation. “Six years after 9/11, my brother also gave his life for his country, so every year we gather communities together to run a 5K, not just to honor the fallen, but to continue the legacies of character, leadership, and service that they left behind. We are looking forward to this exciting race season and uniting people around the world to continue those legacies and redefine America’s national character.”

Last year, more than 30,000 people participated in races around the world, and the Travis Manion Foundation invested over $151,000 back into the local race communities to support military, veterans, first responders and their families.

Heroes Run 5K Race Course. A 1-mile Fun Run will follow Ring Road around Northpark Mall.

The race course will utilize Northpark Drive, Towne Center Boulevard and Wheatley Street, beginning and ending at Northpark Mall. Northpark Drive and Pear Orchard Road will be blocked off during the event. The 1-mile fun run will utilize Ring Road. The race and fun run is open to people of all ages and all ability levels. It will be a fun, family-friendly event.

The 9/11 ceremony is open to the public and is free of charge. To register for the Heroes Run, visit http://www.travismanion.org/tmf_911run_race/911-heroes-run-ridgeland-ms/. Active duty military and first responders will receive 10 percent discount.

About Travis Manion Foundation

The Travis Manion Foundation is a qualified 501(c)(3) that is dedicated to empowering our nation’s veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. In 2007, 1st Lt Travis Manion (U.S. Marine Corps) was killed in Iraq while saving his wounded teammates. Today, Travis’ legacy lives on in the words he spoke before leaving for his final deployment, “If Not Me, Then Who…” Guided by this mantra, veterans continue their service, develop strong relationships with their communities, and thrive in their post-military lives. As a result, communities prosper and the character of our nation’s heroes live on in the next generation.

Local Point of Contact – Captain Todd Yelverton – Local Race Director – 601-856-7004 – todd.yelverton@ridgelandms.org

National Point of Contact – Derrick Morgan – Travis Manion Foundation – 215-622-2225 – Derrick@travismanion.org