LAKE DALLAS — Officials from Denton, Hickory Creek, Corinth, Lake Dallas and Shady Shores carried their American flags as they walked to Lewisville Lake pedestrian bridge to meet city leaders from Lewisville and Highland Village.
Denton County leaders and community members on both ends waved their flags and cheered once both sides met at the midway point of the bridge.
This was part of the Red, White and Blue Freedom Walk event on Sunday, in which Denton County community members honored and remembered those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks 21 years ago in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
“We’re just glad to have the community come out and support our first responders who are the ones that are the ones that rush in for us,” Hickory Creek Mayor Lynn Clark said. “So, it’s important to us to honor them and honor the memory of those that were lost on 9/11.”
This was the second year community members got together to honor and pay tribute to the victims. Clark said the idea for the event came from Lewisville City Council member Ronnie Cade. Clark said Cade wasn’t able to help organize it this year and gave the reins to Clark to continue the event.
“We did this last year, and it was just such a meaningful event to me,” Clark said. “... It’s a testament to how many people came out for our community.”
Clark said that while it’s been 21 years since the attacks occurred, those who remember will remember the day like it was yesterday.
Clark remembers where she was when the attacks occurred. She said she was worried during the tragedy since she couldn’t reach her husband, a Southwest Airlines pilot at the time. She found out later that her husband was on the ground in San Antonio.
Highland Village Mayor Dan Jaworski said the aftermath of the tragedy brought the country together. Jaworski said he was 31 when the tragedy occurred. He had gotten out of the Navy the year prior and thought about enrolling again.
He said the tragedy is something Americans will not forget.
“It’s like Pearl Harbor, or when President Kennedy or President Reagan was shot — you remember where you were,” Jaworski said.
Denton Mayor Gerard Hudspeth said the event brought the community great symbolism and togetherness.
Hudspeth said he had heard the stories and testimonies that came out after the tragedy and said they give people hope and resolve to celebrate those who were lost.
Hudspeth also remembers where he was and said, “For me, I was going to work and saw the news. It was just kind of shocking.”
Lewisville Mayor TJ Gilmore said this is an opportunity to build community, reach out and connect with the Denton County community.
“I think that’s beautiful, and we need to do more of it,” Gilmore said.
Lake Dallas Mayor Andi Nolan and Shady Shores Mayor Cindy Aughinbaugh were also in attendance.
Each mayor said the turnout from the community was a success, and all hope to grow the event moving forward.
“We will be back next year and hope to see an even bigger crowd,” Clark said. “I think things like this just join our communities together.”
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