» By Kristin Jaggers & Kenneth Lilly
Citizens of Clarksville slid into their tennis shoes and roller skates on Monday, Oct. 22 in honor of a job best performed in combat boots.
APSU University Recreation sponsored its second Walk to Afghanistan Project, in connection with the families of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade and the Mayor’s Fitness Council.
The opening ceremonies were held at 4:30 p.m. in the Governor’s Stadium where President Hall, along with Mayor Kim McMillan, gave the opening welcome address.
Members of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, and the 160th Special Operations Air Regiment (Nightstalkers), and the Red River Sirens were present for the event.
Also present was Lee Irwin from Five Star Radio and Clarksville NOW. He played music to motivate the walkers, runners and skaters such as “The Army Goes Rolling Along,” “Only in America” by Brooks & Dunn and “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO.
Many children were also present to lend their support. Two such children were seen running at full speed, dodging in and out of assorted adults on a set of roller blades and on foot.
The event officially began at 5:00 p.m. when walkers left the Governor’s Stadium in pursuit of their own routes.
The goal of the walk was for all of the participants to walk a cumulative 10,644 miles, the distance from Fort Campbell Army Airfield to Kabul, Afghanistan, in order to pay tribute to friends and family members deployed.
Monday’s event was an hour-long kick-off, and walkers will continue climbing toward their goals throughout the deployment.
Army spouse, organizer and chairman of the project Mitzie Thompson was present, and expressed her gratitude to all those present for their support. During the last deployment, walkers traveled a collective 100,000 miles by the end of the deployment, greatly surpassing their initial goal.
The Walk to Afghanistan events for this deployment started in September and will continue to take place until March in order to encourage others to participate and to keep current participants involved.
Members of the public are encouraged to arrange their own events. During the event held in Governor’s Stadium, approximately 185 people, 56 of which were APSU students and faculty, walked an estimated 565 miles.