North Wilkesboro-based Window World is partnering with other organizations Friday to help residents of Wilkes County and across the nation pause to remember the losses and life-changing impact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks 19 years earlier.
Thousands of military veterans and supporters will gather to carry American flags through their communities running, walking or by cycling as part of Team Red, White & Blue's 9/11 Moving Tribute, presented by Window World.
Team Red, White & Blue (RWB) is a non-profit that works to enrich the lives of veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activity. There are about 200,000 members and about 2,000 volunteer leaders in Team RWB chapters in hundreds of communities nationwide.
Locally, Window World staff, veterans, law enforcement officers, firefighters and others will gather in the Window World corporate office parking lot on Shaver Street, North Wilkesboro, for a 9/11 ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Speakers will include Mike Erwin, Team RWB executive director, and Tammy Whitworth, Window World chairman and CEO. Lacey Shrader, a student at Wilkes Central High School, will play “Taps” and sing the national anthem.
Erwin, Whitworth and about 10 others will carry U.S. flags as they run or walk through North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro to Wilkes Community College and part of the way back before ending at the Carolina West Wireless Community Commons on Main Street, Wilkesboro. They’ll start at the North Wilkesboro Elks Lodge on Finley Avenue.
North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro police and firefighters will escort the local 9/11 Moving Tribute. A North Wilkesboro ladder fire truck will display a giant U.S. flag at the ceremony in the Window World parking lot and a Wilkesboro ladder fire truck will do the same at the Carolina West Wireless Community Commons.
Veterans and supporters are expected to carry American flags thousands of miles through their communities as part of the 9/11 Moving Tribute. Window World franchises across the country will join Team RWB to host in-person and virtual 9/11 Moving Tributes, with staff of over 25 franchises participating.
"The tragic events of Sept. 11 inspired many military members to take action to protect their fellow Americans” by enlisting or re-enlisting, said Whitworth.
Attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 resulted in the loss of 2,977 lives. Over 5,500 American military personnel were killed in action in wars that followed.
"Our nation's veterans made numerous sacrifices for our country, and the Window World Family wants to show our gratitude and respect. We are privileged to join Team RWB in its efforts to support this country's service members,” she added.
Whitworth said Window World is a good American company and she is a proud American. She cited the company’s efforts to hire veterans and help them transition to civilian life. The values and discipline of veterans line up well with what Window World believes in, she added.
Jamie McBride, a Window World board member involved with the 9/11 Moving Tribute, commented on the importance of remembering that freedom isn’t free.
McBride said in gratitude, Window World offers discounts to veterans for franchise ownership and many Window World franchisees donate products for veterans.
Window World’s charitable endeavors also include supporting the Veterans Airlift Command, a nonprofit organization that facilitates free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families. As a member of that network, Window World's corporate jet has provided transportation for over 115 missions, transporting 360 people around the country, including veterans and their families.