Many in Fort Wayne had different ways of remembering the September 11th terrorist attacks. Some used cardio.
Dozens laced up for the Freedom Run, a 9.11 mile run through Fort Wayne as a way to remember the lives lost from 9/11.
The group ran from the Three Rivers Distillery to the Fort Wayne Police and Fire Memorial, then to the War Memorial Coliseum, then to the Lakeside World War II Memorial, to Fort Wayne fire station #1, before finishing back at the Police and Fire Memorial.
One person, Michigan Firefighter Bob Bates, ran the entire route in full fire fighting gear.
“It’s important to me,” said Bates. “It’s kind of emotional. It just makes me feel really really good that I can do something for the fire community and the police community and kind of give back what’s been given to me over the years.”
People in the group also got a chance to directly show their respect to first responders. During the run, they crossed paths with the procession for fallen Fort Wayne Police Officer David Tinsley.
“So we just got to stand silently by the road with our flags, watch the procession go by,” said run organizer Sam Hartman. “And you could tell it really means a lot to those officers that we were standing there silently not continuing our run but watching them and paying homage to their fallen hero as well.”
Hartman has been running these 9.11 miles every year for the last six years. he still finds it difficult to describe what the day was like for him 17 years ago.
“It’s hard to even put into words 17 years later,” Hartman said. “I couldn’t really describe it then, and I can’t really describe it now. It was life-changing for all the wrong reasons, but still a lot of great things that can still stand to be taken from it.”
Hartman was a freshman in high school when the 9/11 attacks happened.
Bob Bates runs in first responder tribute events year-round.