Recently, on September 13, 2014, Still Serving Veterans, in partnership with four other Huntsville-based nonprofits, presented Huntsville with the inaugural 9/11 Honor Walk: Remember. Heal. Celebrate. which served as a free-to-the-public community awareness and healing event. Guests were welcomed with an opening ceremony featuring local political figures, service front-runners, and leaders from different religions.
The centerpiece of the event was the labyrinth – a 60x60 circle with a continuous, wrapping path that when walked brought an inner peace, healing and meditative quality. Attendants were encouraged to pick up a stone before entering the labyrinth as a representation of whatever may be weighing down their hearts and, once they reached the middle, to rinse the stone in the blessed water and leave the stone there so they may walk the remaining labyrinth without it – symbolizing the letting go of their inner turmoil.
During the walk, chaplains of various religions and others were available for spiritual needs and therapy dogs from Therapy Partners were present to ease the sometimes emotional journey. Service Members, First Responders, and civilians alike walked in remembrance of their fallen brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, or simply for themselves.
Three hours after the event began, local bands performed to honor and celebrate the lives of those lost during, or in consequence of the tragic September 11, 2001 events, as well as the coming together of the community to support one another.
This inaugural event was established not to raise funds, but simply for the community. We also encouraged our guests to better themselves and their community by giving back or “paying it forward.” With nearly 300 people in attendance, it was such a success and received such gleaming feedback that the nonprofits involved plan to make it an annual event. So if you missed it, don't fret, you'll get the chance to experience the powerful labyrinth walk in 2015 - and if you were able to make it we hope to see you again next year!
Video Recap by Wren Miller: Honor Walk at The U.S. Space & Rocket Center
WHNT News 19: 9-11 Honor Walk remembers military and first responders