19 and Freedom Run continues “http://www.wcsjnews.com/content/tncms/live//Local News” wcsjnews.com

The idea for Freedom Run began 19 years ago when Tony Cutrano and Jerry Kucera went to Marseille City Council with an idea for a Middle Eastern conflict memorial wall along the banks of the Illinois River. Mayor Patti Smith and council approved it and the rest is history.

This Saturday, motorcyclists from across the country meet at the Grundy County Fairgrounds in Morris before making their debut in Marseille. Residents line streets from south of Interstate 80 to Main Street, waving flags and welcoming up to 1,000 bikers to the wall.

Freedom Run Vice President Anna Russo said 13 names will be engraved on the 13 granite walls, new additions to more than 3,000 names already listed. 13 US service members were killed near Kabul on August 26 in a suicide bombing less than a week before the United States was set to complete a military withdrawal on August 31. During the annual event at the wall, members of the Gold Star family read the names of their loved ones and many officials talk about the significance of the wall to the country.

This year, the Marseille Parks and Tourism Committee is offering “Music on the Grande Rue” which will begin after the wall ceremony. Public Health and Safety Commissioner Gary Lewey said cars will leave Main Street from 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Mayor Jim Hollenbeck said after 18 years, the event has become routine for the city. “I hope everyone has a chance to honor our fallen heroes and that the weather is nice. I hope everyone has a good time after the ceremony.

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