May 29, 2016 - Sea service members and first-responders joined together to usher in the Memorial Day holiday with the return of the annual Freedom Run through downtown Manhattan as part of 2016 Fleet Week New York (FWNY), May 29
The 1.5-mile run was established to honor of the victims of 9/11 and America's fallen heroes. The run began at the North Cove Marina in Manhattan and ended at the 9/11 Memorial.
“This run is a tradition … I was here in 2009 and did it then, and now I’m back doing it again,” said Sgt. Maj. Douglas Cutsail, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). “We lead the Marines on a run to represent freedom and to honor the men and women who lost their lives during 9/11. It reminds us where we were and where we don’t ever want to return. It reminds us that we need to be prepared when the nation need us the most.”
Approximately 250 Marines, Sailors and Royal Canadian Navy Sailors participated in the early morning run.
“Running through the city just felt alive, having all the people cheer us on,” said Cpl. Josue Edmond, 24th MEU. “All the smiling faces felt great. I felt a lot of pride because not only am I representing myself, but my battalion … it was a really good feeling.”
“What a great honor it is for us to be a part of this and reassure our bonds with the United States,” said Lt. Dominic Dupuis, HMCS Athabaskan (DDG 282), Royal Canadian Navy. “We ran to the monuments at ground zero just to honor all the people that were lost.”
At the end of the run, Marines gathered around the 9/11 Memorial to place a wreath in honor of the victims of the Sept. 11m 2001 tragedy..
“It’s a remembrance run … the Marines have been doing it about 10 years, basically to honor all those that have served since September 11, both the first-responders on the civilian side, and also on the military side,” said Capt. Rob Gamberg, Chief of Staff for Carrier Strike Group 12. “… and also to remember the sacrifices of those that we lost along the way and show our respect. It’s a fantastic feeling doing this run … 9/11 was a critical point in my life, not only in my military career, but personally as well.”
FWNY, now in its 28th year, is the city’s celebration of the sea services and gives an opportunity for the citizens of New York City and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. The event has been held nearly every year since 1984.
Throughout the week, sea service members have conducted ship tours; participated in parades; visited area schools, hospitals, parks and senior centers; and volunteered for several area service projects.