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West Michigan veteran embarks on 9/11 memorial walk

Posted at 12:21 AM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 00:21:19-04

WEST MICHIGAN — The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is less than a month away.

Two decades later, we still reflect on the lives lost in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and we honor the ones who served.

Ahead of the upcoming anniversary, a West Michigan veteran is showing his appreciation for our men and women in uniform by embarking on an incredible journey. He was given a special send-off at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

"So I'll be starting in New York City ground zero, and walk into Shanksville, Pennsylvania at the Flight 93 Memorial, and taking a left and heading to Pentagon," Jesse Johnson-Brower told us.

Jesse will be making the 454-mile memorial walk on foot.

"I'll do my 20-mile, hop in and truck, will rest for the day, drive back to where we dropped off and start all over again," Jesse explains.

It's a mission that is personal to Jesse.

"I was at the Pentagon, about 20 minutes after the attacks 20 years ago," he says. "And we were there for about two weeks afterwards, sleeping on the front lawn; we'd go in and, you know, remove the remains of the victims as well as the aircraft."

Twenty years later, Jesse wants to let other first responders know they are supported.

"I just think that people have lost so much," says Jesse. "And for me to quit because I hurt is [...] disrespectful; I won't do it. So I will finish no matter what."

Jesse's walk is also intended to raise awareness for Life GR, his nonprofit organization.

Life GR has given mental health service to more than 3,000 active service members, veterans and first responders.

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