9/11 Freedom Rally: To Honor and Respect Those Who Serve and Protect
WINNER: $10,000 Challenge Recipient
As we mark the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, Denver will be the site of a unique public festival called the 9/11 Freedom Rally. This entirely volunteer, nonprofit event is intended to raise funds and awareness for the military and first responder community in Colorado.
Seven nonprofit organizations (comprised largely of retired or active first responders and military personnel) who have worked on behalf of these communities have come together to organize the Rally and share in the proceeds:
- All About Vets
- Colorado Charity Alliance
- Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association
- Rolling Thunder 1 & 2, Colorado
- Sentinels Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club
- Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Colorado
- Veterans of Vietnam Motorcycle Club
Each organization has also selected Charities of Choice who will be involved in the Rally and receive a portion of the funds. This list includes, but is not limited to:
- American Military Families
- Canine Partners of the Rockies
- Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial
- Concerns of Police Survivors
- Homes for our Troops
- Project Sanctuary
- Support a Soldier
- Veterans Green Jobs
- VFW Foundation
Further, there are other groups within this community who provide support through financial contribution, volunteerism, promotion, and so on. We calculate that by the time the Rally is over, our efforts will have touched 66 charities who conduct such activities as train service dogs for disabled soldiers, provide transitional support, assist families of fallen police and firefighters, send care packages to our troops, build accessible homes for disabled service members, socialize with older veterans in nursing homes or hospitals, assist veterans in transitioning from homeless status, provide scholarships for children of the fallen, retrain veterans for new careers, raise awareness of POW/MIA issues, lobby for Veterans issues legislation and much more.
The 9/11 Freedom Rally has an overall mission “To Honor and Respect Those Who Serve and Protect.” We celebrate America's strength and resilience in the wake of the incidents of 9/11/01, remember those who fell on that tragic day, and consider the needs of those who risk their lives in the service of our community and nation whether it be in the military, law enforcement, firefighting, or emergency medical service. We honor those who have served past and present and their families who also serve and sacrifice.
The 9/11 Freedom Rally will include multiple activities for the whole family in a festival setting. Two significant components of the event that show our remembrance for 9/11 are:
- Memorial Stadium: Our event takes place at a professional sports arena. We will convert the stadium for the day into a memorial for those who died on 9/11 as well as in the resulting military conflict. We will plant over 9,200 American flags on the field to mark the 2,996 who perished on 9/11 and those who have died in combat since. This area will also feature a digital tribute to the fallen listing their names on the stadium scoreboard. Tribute motorcycles, customized in honor of fallen individuals or groups will also be on display as will displays in honor of specific fallen military personnel.
- Colorado’s Fallen Heroes Memorial Ride: Approximately 3,000 motorcycles will participate in one of Colorado’s largest charity rides. Along the route, riders will see over 120 individual signs each depicting a son or daughter of Colorado who has died in emergency response or military service. The ride will be led by a motorcycle drawn hearse carrying a recovered piece of the World Trade Center. The riders will also participate in a Veterans honor ceremony in the small City of Bennett, this town of only 2,200 lost an Army Specialist and Marine within three weeks of each other earlier this year.
We are expecting nearly 10,000 attendees at our event and they will enjoy a military flyover, display of emergency and military aircraft and vehicles, assorted vendors, food, live music, health area, activities for children and teens, and a variety of other demonstrations. Of note, in the Children’s Zone, we will be coloring boxes used for holiday care packages to the troops overseas and writing holiday cards.
Our current Steering Committee includes over 70 volunteers and we expect nearly 200 on the day of the event. These volunteers have been vital in raising sponsorships, donations, organizing the event, securing vendors and displays, marketing/promotion, and volunteering at a number of smaller public and nonprofit events we’ve participated in all summer leading up to the Rally. On the day of the event volunteers will do everything from direct traffic to acting as Docents in Memorial Stadium. Even our musical acts are donating their time. Many of our volunteers already volunteer widely in their community as members of the aforementioned organizations, their local American Legion or VFW posts and other organizations.
During our speaking program we will be awarding “Salutes” to 5 individuals who make extraordinary community efforts. These two recipients exemplify the type of people our organization is thrilled to work with:
- Lorraine Melgosa owns a funerary carriage company in southeastern Colorado. Lorraine, her magnificent stallion “Duke,” and their 1870 horse-drawn hearse travel throughout the state at NO charge to carry the remains of our fallen military personnel to their final resting place.
- In 2005, Jeff “Twister” Brown formed the Patriot Guard Riders in direct response to a fringe group protesting the funerals of America's KIAs. Since that founding, PGR has swelled to over 250,000 members nationwide and expanded their mission to include a number of services and honors to the military community.
We are honored to have the support of Colorado’s Governor, John Hickenlooper; Major General H. Michael Edwards, Adjutant General for Colorado; and Thomas Von Essen, former FDNY Commissioner. Please visit our website at www.911FreedomRally.org to view Mr. Von Essen’s recorded message to the Rally (recorded at Ground Zero after the death of Osama Bin Laden) and the Governor’s letter of support as well as our own introductory video.
Thank you for your consideration.