A hundred mile march steps off Tuesday from New Jersey to lower Manhattan, in honor of those lost on Sept. 11, 2001, those who responded to the terror attacks and those that continue to help keep us safe.

An American flag that’s flown over combat zones in Afghanistan is a focal point of the march that starts at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, actually leaving from McGuire Air Force in Burlington County, says Jon Leech, a pilot with the U-S Air Force.

Leech calls it an organic movement of military members, plus some family and close friends, who set out for the 34-plus hours of straight walking to the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero.

The terrain from south Jersey to Manhattan isn't always pedestrian friendly, but Leech said they try to generally stick to a similar route as in years past.

Photos from 2018 shared on Facebook include stops in Plainsboro and outside a Rutgers University facility at the halfway point.

Upon arrival at Ground Zero, the military members who marched fold and present the flag to staff at the Memorial and Museum, who then fly it over the memorial on Sept. 12.

This seventh year of the "ruck march," as in years past, funds raised during the 100 mile march will go directly to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center, Leech said.

All the funds go toward renovations, upkeep and preservation of the memorial.

Leech notes last year’s fundraising goal was $5,000, which they doubled in just a day and a half of walking, to collect more than $10,000. This year’s goal is $10,000, and they're already collecting donations through Facebook.

In a post alongside the fundraiser link, Leech writes in part "We hope, during these 100 miles, that we can help remember those lost, those that responded and those that continue help lead efforts to prevent another attack. The funds raised this year will continue to go towards the memorial, ensuring all generations will remember the victims, responders, and the good that can be accomplished when we act as one with the same common bond. Today, especially, in the current political and social climate we are living, we need to remember what one nation feels like. With your help we are hoping to support and preserve the biggest reminder that we have.”

Other notable 9/11 memorials around New Jersey this week include:

West Orange (Essex County)
Wed, Sept. 11
starting at 8 a.m.
Eagle Rock September 11th Memorial, Essex County Eagle Rock Reservation, Eagle Rock Ave.
“Essex County Remembers,” a solemn ceremony that will mark the 18th anniversary of the tragedies in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania.

Sewell (Gloucester County)
Wed, Sept. 11
starting at 8:30 a.m.
Chestnut Branch Park, 579 County Hwy Alt 553
Gloucester County’s annual remembrance ceremony, “Patriot Day,” will be at the park's Place of Reflection. A bell ringing will take place at the time of the attacks, in honor of the three Gloucester County residents who lost their lives.

Hoboken (Hudson County)
Wed, Sept. 11
6 p.m.
Pier A next to the Hoboken 9/11 Memorial
The city's annual September 11th interfaith memorial service.

Middletown (Monmouth County)
Wed, Sept. 11
7:15 p.m. — 8 p.m.
World Trade Center Memorial Gardens
36 Church Street, Middletown 07748
A moment of silence and wreath tribute will honor the 37 Middletown "friends and neighbors we lost 18 years ago in the World Trade Center attack." Tribute will be held rain or shine.

Atlantic Highlands (Monmouth County)
Wed, Sept. 11
8 a.m. ceremony (memorial open until 11 p.m.)
Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook, 460 Ocean Blvd
The ceremony will honor the 147 Monmouth County residents lost in the attacks.

Toms River (Ocean County)
Wed, Sept. 11
starting at 8:30 a.m.
Sept. 11 Memorial in the courtyard between 119 and 129 Hooper Ave.
Ocean County's annual Sept. 11 Day of Remembrance ceremony. The Ocean County Vocational Technical School Performing Arts Academy choir will perform.

West Windsor (Mercer County)
Wed, Sept. 11
starting at 11 a.m.
Mercer County College, 1200 Old Trenton Rd
The ceremony will honor the 30 Mercer County residents who died in the 9/11 attacks.

Woodbridge (Middlesex County)
Wed, Sept. 11
start time 6 p.m.
9/11 Memorial Park in front of Town Hall, One Main Street
The program will commemorate the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks, with services honoring 9 Woodbridge residents who lost their lives on 9/11. It also will offer a “Salute-of-Support” to local police, fire fighters, first aid squad, EMT, and emergency management personnel.

Somerville (Somerset County)
Wed, Sept. 11
starting at 8:46 a.m.
In front of Somerset County’s 9/11 Memorial, at the corner of Main and Bridge streets.
Ceremony will begin with a brief tolling of the bell at the top of the nearby historic courthouse. The Freeholders will read the names of the 39 Somerset County residents killed in the attacks, 18 years ago, and place a wreath in front of the memorial.

Previous ceremonies:

Empty Sky Memorial, Jersey City (Hudson County)
Sat, Sept. 7
The New Jersey 9/11 Memorial Foundation held an early day of remembrance, including a 5K run/walk

Morris County
Sun, Sept. 8
An 18th annual remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the September 11th Memorial in Parsippany.

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