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One woman journeys across America to pay tribute to 9/11 victims

A Knoxville, Tennessee woman is running across America to honor the victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Jan Walker started her journey in Oceanside, California on March 1. She plans to reach the Pentagon 9/11 memorial this summer and eventually end her journey in Ocean City, Maryland. She arrived in Phoenix Tuesday after nearly a month of trekking through the desert.

“You have to get up every morning, no matter what you feel like and just keep going. If your feet hurt, it doesn’t matter,” Walker said.

She also said it’s important to think about all resources, because food and water can be scarce.

“The distance between resupply points just for water can be two to three days,” Walker said.

Walker said she camps some nights. Other nights she stays in homes along the route or in hotels.

As she runs, Walker straps herself to a cart that follows behind. On that cart are supplies such as a camping gear, clothes and personal items. Also on the cart is a flag remembering those who died on 9/11.

“The tragedies of that day affected everyone,” Walker said. “As an American, I believe that it touches everyone.”

Walker is no stranger to long runs, although not quite a run of this magnitude. She raced 314 miles across Tennessee in preparation for this run across America. As she makes her way across the country, Walker is raising money and awareness for the 9/11 memorial trail. It’s intended to connect the three crash sites in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The multi-use biking and hiking trail is usable at the moment, but Walker said only about 70 percent of the land has been set aside at this point. The goal eventually is to get Congress to designate the 1100 miles as a National Memorial Trail.

“It helps me have the goal to get to the end because I’m working for this particular entity and trying to make it come to reality,” Walker said.

From Phoenix, Walker plans to trek up State Route 87 to Payson and then eventually east to New Mexico. You can follow her journey through the Rise Up for the Fallen Facebook page. Walker posts videos of her journey on a regular basis. From there you can also donate to the 9/11 trail.

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