Old Bridge welcomes members of the Stride and Ride Relay, paying tribute to the lives lost since 2001 terror attacks

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Members of Give2Those and Stride and Ride Tactical team visited Old Bridge on Oct. 8.PHOTOS BY KATHY CHANG/STAFF
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The annual Stride and Ride Relay made a pitstop in Old Bridge on Oct. 8. The relay occurs every October to educate the public about the importance of Oct. 7, 2001, the day of the first deployment in the war on terror. The relay spans 911 miles, starting at Boston's Logan Airport, traversing the east coast and ending at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. PHOTOS BY KATHY CHANG/STAFF
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Members of Give2Those and Stride and Ride Tactical team visited Old Bridge on Oct. 8.PHOTOS BY KATHY CHANG/STAFF
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The annual Stride and Ride Relay made a pitstop in Old Bridge on Oct. 8. The relay occurs every October to educate the public about the importance of Oct. 7, 2001, the day of the first deployment in the war on terror. The relay spans 911 miles, starting at Boston's Logan Airport, traversing the east coast and ending at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. PHOTOS BY KATHY CHANG/STAFF
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OLD BRIDGE – There were many salutes, handshakes, hugs and tears as the team from the charitable organization Give2Those and Stride and Ride Tactical team visited Old Bridge last week.

In front of the 9/11 Memorial Site at the Municipal Complex, the team presented heartfelt tokens – specially made and handcrafted American flags – to local organizations, who helped them with their mission on Oct. 8.

“Our mission couldn’t happen without not only townships like you all coming together and supporting us, but also without the [tactical team] uniting together each stage, each step, each stride at a time,” said Heather Viveiros, founder of Give2Those, based in Boston.

Viveiros said they all “stand united for the sacrifices made for our country, for our nation, for our freedoms everyday, sometimes we take those freedoms for granted, we forget to thank, we forget to remember, we forget the sacrifices made.”

“We made it our mission to never forget, to never forget those who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Civil War, Revolutionary War, Desert Storm, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and welcome home to the Vietnam veterans,” she said.

Mayor Owen Henry said less than a month ago they stood before the 9/11 memorial to honor and pay tribute to those from Old Bridge who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Old Bridge is a better community today because of your presence, your commitment, dedication and love for our country,” he said, calling the Give2Those organization second to none with the goal of bridging the gap from civilians, military and first responders.

Viveiros said what brought the organization together was Oct. 7, 2001, when the United States launched the global war on terror after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

This year marks 18 years since the attacks, which killed close to 3,000 people when four passenger airliner planes were hijacked by al-Queda, an Islamic terrorist group. Two planes slammed into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City and one plane hit the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. Another hijacked plane – Flight 93 – initially headed to Washington D.C., was thwarted by passengers and crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“Our military was deployed for the Global War on Terror to be the voice and the heroes of those who lost their lives on that very fateful day on Sept. 11, 2001,” Viveiros said. “Eighteen years … think about that and we are still fighting the war on terror, still serving and protecting lives.”

The team displayed many tokens of their mission including a folded American flag containing more than 10,500 names and photos of every single person who lost their life on Sept. 11, 2001, the 6,972 military troops who have lost their lives on the global war on terror to the people who have lost the battle from invisible wounds of the war and lost their battle to illnesses.

The annual Stride and Ride Relay occurs every October to educate the public about the importance of Oct. 7, 2001, the day of the first deployment in the War on Terror.

The relay spans 911 miles, starting at Boston’s Logan Airport, traversing the East Coast, and ending at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Runners, cyclists, walkers and motorcyclists carry the American flag with photographs of those who have been lost. The relay is sponsored by Give2Those, a not-for-profit organization based out of Boston, whose goal is to “bridge the gap between civilians, military and first responder personnel together one step, one mile, one event at a time.”

For more information, visit www.give2those.org

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@newspapermediagroup.com.