A celebration of patriotism and a solemn reminder of lives lost, Killeen’s annual Freedom Walk is set for Wednesday at Killeen High School and Leo Buckley Stadium.

The public is invited to attend and take part in the ceremony at 9:30 a.m. in the KHS gym and in the walk around the track at adjacent Buckley Stadium.

The event will mark the eighth year the Killeen Independent School District is hosting the event in partnership with Fort Hood.

The ceremony in the gym will feature the Ellison High School choir and representative student leaders from each of KISD’s four high schools.

The guest speaker is Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division. The ceremony will honor Fort Hood Gold Star Families, the Warrior Transition Brigade and area first responders.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Killeen High School drum line will lead participants through the school parking lot into the stadium for one lap around the track.

Kimberly Hornsby, a KISD educator, will serve as honorary flag bearer in honor of her husband, Robert “Bobby” Hornsby, a Killeen police officer who died in the line of duty in July.

The walk will conclude with a bell ringing and a balloon release on the track.

At last year’s community walk, Superintendent Robert Muller said honoring soldiers and first responders is “unique to many, but not to Killeen,” a place where groups consistently remember the military and soldiers’ family members.

In addition to this year’s community event, all Killeen ISD campuses will honor America and first responders with campus activities.

Those range from student parades around campuses to guest speakers, history lessons and service projects.

Last year, students from Cedar Valley Elementary School and Liberty Hill Middle School joined police and other emergency personnel in a walk through their Killeen neighborhood.

At the time, Cedar Valley fourth-grade teacher Kovettia Powell said she wanted to ensure that her students understood the gravity of 9/11 without fear.

“Freedom is the most important thing,” Powell said as she stood along Chantz Drive with two school’s worth of educators and students on Sept. 11, 2012.

“This means unity with the community.”

After explaining the terroristic attacks to her fourth-graders, Powell said “I can see the somber look on their face that says ‘wow,’ and I know they understand.”

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