On this 12th anniversary of September 11, 2001, the nation remembers those lost – but also the brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedoms in the wake of the attacks.
On Saturday, a 14.8-kilometer walk called the "March For The Fallen" will be held on the Centennial Trial in Riverside State Park to honor the 148 people in Washington's military who've lost their lives since that fateful day.
"Just like everybody else, [9/11] changed my life," Post Falls native SFC Mike Stutzke told KHQ's Kelsey Watts.
Stutzke had just finished his military service a month before the attacks, but watching them unfold on television, he knew he had to go back.
"I didn't like it very much that we got attacked, so I wanted to do my part," he explained. "I said, ‘Put me in the infantry and send me over.'"
In his platoon, me met Tri-Cities native Jeremiah Schmunk, who Stutzke describes as a good kid, goofy and a lot of fun – but also very insightful.
They'd known each other for about a year when on July 9, 2004, everything changed.
Stutzke and his four men were outside Al-Wadiya, Iraq, when they were ambushed and came under fire. They called for backup from other members of their platoon, but when they arrived, they took the fire.
"Jeremiah was killed saving me and my men," Stutzke recalled. "The experience of combat changed my life."
Jeremiah Schmunk is now his inspiration to begin the "March For The Fallen," meant to honor all of Washington's fallen military – active duty or not.
100 people have already registered, but there is room for many more. The $30 registration fee will go right back out to support four local veterans groups: Operation Spokane Hero, The Washington Fallen Hero Project, Time of Remembrance and Burning Boots.
"I think it's going to be spectacular," Stutzke said of the upcoming event, adding that participants get to take home a t-shirt and dog tags.
He says even if you can't do the full 14.8 kilometers (9.2 miles), you should still come and show your support.