, Muskogee, OK

September 5, 2013

Freedom Walk to honor Milam

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— This year’s Freedom Walk will remember U.S. Army Major Ron Milam, a Muskogee native who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Milam’s mother, retired Muskogee High School English teacher Effie Milam, is set to speak at the walk, which begins 8:30 a.m. Saturday near the military recruiting offices at Arrowhead Mall. Refreshments will be served.

“This is an opportunity for the community to come out, be patriotic and support Effie Milam,” said Lisa Susanne, executive director of Downtown Muskogee, Inc., the walk’s sponsor

Susanne said the walk, in its fifth year, “commemorates and honors the first responders, and those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks.”

Ron Milam, a 1986 MHS graduate, was among nearly 3,000 people who died that day. Milam was working at the Pentagon when it was hit by an airplane. Airplanes had hit the World Trade Center’s twin towers earlier that morning. Another airplane crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers thwarted terrorists’ attempts to hijack the plane.

In a 2011 interview, Effie Milam said her son’s body was not found in the Pentagon’s rubble until a week after the attacks. Effie Milam retired from teaching in 2008.

Saturday’s Freedom Walk also will feature the National Anthem, accompanied by 15-year-old guitarist Millisa Henderson, Susanne said. She said 50 to 100 people went on previous walks.

This year’s walk will take a different, shorter route than in the past, Susanne said.

“In the past, we walked from the Civic Center to Centennial Trail,” she said. “This year, we’ll start a the Armed Services recruiting offices at Arrowhead Mall, then go south on Third Street, east on Broadway to Main Street, south on Main to Elgin, west on Elgin to Fourth, then north on Fourth back to the mall.”

The route is 1.8 miles, slightly shorter than the two-mile route in past years, she said.

“We’re finishing at noon, in time for the mall’s 26th anniversary celebration,” Susanne said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

If you go

WHAT: Fifth annual Freedom Walk.

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

WHERE: Military recruiting offices entrance, south side of Arrowhead Mall, 501 N. Main St.