SAVANNAH, GA. – Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, in partnership with the city of Savannah, hosted their inaugural Patriot Day 5K run downtown at Forsyth Park, Sept. 9.
“This is our new way of recognizing 9/11, memorializing what happened and honoring first responders and the military,” said Lt. Col. Bob Cuthbertson, Hunter Army Airfield garrison commander. “This is something we're going to continue to do for years to come with the city of Savannah and we can't be more excited about how well this went over and how much support we got.”
Traditionally held on Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, the installation team decided to bring this event outside the gates to foster community patriotism and unity.
“9/11 and our Patriot Day run festivities mean a lot to a lot of different people, and we're just excited that after 20 years, it still means this much to our community,” said Tyler Gierber, FS-HAAF FMWR deputy director.
To ensure this event was brought to the city of Savannah, FMWR and the garrison worked for over year with the city to ensure a successful event.
“Savannah is easily one of the biggest military friendly communities,” Gierber said. “So for us to be able to bring our assets off the installation here, which is our home, just makes our partnership [with Savannah] even better.”
During the run, firefighters from the installation and local community kicked off the 5K by starting the run wearing their firefighting equipment.
"It was really cool to see the firefighters [participate] in full gear," said Lt. Col. Bob Cuthbertson, Hunter Army Airfield garrison commander. "I don't think people understand how challenging that is and they stepped up."
Over 1200 people registered for the race, with countless others spectating. Closed for the race, roads were filled with American flags and people proudly wearing their red, white and blue.
“This day is all about 9/11 and what happened over 20 years ago in those tragic events and this is just something we do to honor those people so we never forget,” said Timothy Still, fire inspector with Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Fire Emergency Services.
In addition to the 5K, a block party style, Night of Honor event was held the night before at Forsyth Park, Sept. 8. Together, the two events offered the city of Savannah, residents and tourists a patriotic way to spend the weekend as everyone remembered the events of 9/11 and the national unity it brought.
According to Cuthbertson, Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield plans on continuing this partnership with the city and encourages everyone to get ready for Savannah Patriot Day 2024.