21-mile walk across St. Joseph County honors lives lost on 9/11

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) --- On the 18th anniversary of 9/11, dozens of people signed up to remember the day in a special way. The second annual March to the Memorial was held Wednesday.

It started at 9:11 a.m. near the old Menards store on Ireland Road and stretched 21 miles, ending at the 9/11 Memorial at St. Patrick's County Park off Laurel Road.

"That day, we lost our brothers and sisters, our fellow Americans," said Bob Lyons, of Granger, the march's organizer. "It wasn't just New York City. The whole country got hit."

Lyons brought the walk to Indiana after starting it in Des Moines, Iowa, where he previously lived. He took part in several 9/11 marches in St. Louis.

Lyons has a personal connection to the tragic September day: he worked 10 blocks north of the Twin Towers but had yet to carpool into Manhattan from New Jersey that morning when the planes hit.

"I know the further and further way we get away from the actual year, this is going to be our challenge to reach the next generation, who has no idea what this about," Lyons stated.

The Wednesday march united people of different backgrounds, including veterans such as Micheal Ruelas, who served in the Air Force in the early 1980s.

"I believe, what's going to be on the top of my mind first [during the walk] would be those that are left behind, the families of those that were lost, especially the children," said Ruelas.

Doug Medford served 15 years in the Army. September 11, 2001, rekindled his desire to join the military. He expects the emotions to be heavier on September 11, 2021, when he will carry the flags he flew in Afghanistan on the 10th anniversary.

"In two years, it will [hit me]," he said, through tears.

Others who walked view the march through a faith-ordained lens.

"People don't think of movement -- or, they think of words, or folding your hands and praying as a prayer. But for me, movement and togetherness is a way of honoring something," explained Carol Krizman, of South Bend.

The walk had several rest stops, most of them being at firehouses.