PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Passersby watched as U.S. Army veteran Daniel Stokes walked through the city of Providence Tuesday carrying an American flag.
It’s all part of his plan to walk from Logan International Airport in Boston to where the Twin Towers once stood in New York City. He hopes to arrive at One World Trade Center in time for the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
And Stokes isn’t traveling alone. He’s walking alongside Denise Olsen, the widow of a firefighter who responded to Ground Zero that fateful day.
“[We] started our walk in Boston, where those planes took off from, and we’re going to end our walk at the World Trade Center at Ground Zero at 8:46 a.m., when that first aircraft hit the North Tower,” Stokes explained.
Olsen said there’s no better way to honor her late husband than walking 245 miles in his memory.
“Sometimes it feels like it was another lifetime and sometimes it feels like it was yesterday,” she said. “He had a huge sense of humor, he just found that balance between being funny and being responsible.”
One of their stops along the way included Ezra Richter’s Dorchester home. Upon meeting them, the 17-year-old decided he wanted to accompany them for the remainder of the walk.
“I’ve always wanted to do something a bit more, so that I personally could remember the tragedy that happened before I was born,” Richter said.
12 News caught up with Stokes, Olsen and Richter when they arrived at their hotel in Providence Tuesday evening. The trio was applauded by members of the Providence Fire Department as they walked up to the front door.
Stokes said when he first started planning the walk, his goal was to honor the hundreds of lives lost.
But now that complete strangers are offering them funds to support their cause, the group plans on donating it all to the families of the 13 service members killed last week in Afghanistan.
Stokes said the monetary donations provide an “even deeper meaning for us to do this walk and to memorialize the fallen.”
With 11 more days until the anniversary of the attacks, the trio plans to continue their journey Wednesday by walking from Providence to East Greenwich.