By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Aug 02, 2016 at 8:36 PM

Representatives from the Milwaukee Fire Department and On Purpose Journey, a non-profit that provides support for military, firefighters, law enforcement and veterans, today announced a collection of events to pay tribute to the upcoming 15th anniversary of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.

"This year, we were asked by fire departments, law enforcement agencies and military veteran groups around the country to stand for their fallen, and we are excited and humbled and honored to answer that call," said Mollie Manhattan, founder of On Purpose Journey, at Tuesday's press conference, held outside of Milwaukee Fire Department Engine House 2, 755 N. James Lovell St. 

On Sunday, Sept 11, several "Standing for the Fallen" 9/11 memorial events will take place throughout the day around the city, starting at 9:30 a.m. with a collaborative Salute to Service 9/11 5K. Presented in partnership with area fire departments, law enforcement agencies and Dryhootch Milwaukee, the marathon – beginning and ending at the War Memorial Center – is open to the general public. Registration is available at Dryhootch's website. 

The 5K will be followed at 2:30 p.m. with a protective services parade, winding through Downtown and ending, once again, at the War Memorial Center at 4 p.m. Open to the general public, the silent memorializing parade will feature fire department vehicles and law enforcement vehicles from across the area, as well as "very likely" some military vehicles, according to MFD Deputy Chief Aaron Lipski. 

Following the parade will be a parachute jump team called Leap-X, comprised of Navy SEAL team members, as well as other special forces and special operations members. Their entrance, scheduled around 5 p.m. at the War Memorial Center, will kick-off the "Standing for the Fallen" memorial event, honoring the fallen from the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Port Authority of New York (PANY).

Running until 9 p.m., the free event will feature area honor guards, musical tributes, artwork and representatives from the police, fire department, emergency responders and military personnel, as well as the chief officer from the FDNY who lost numerous department members and friends on Sept. 11.

"These folks ... they've lost so much; they've given so much," Deputy Chief Lipski said. "I think it's important that we hear it in their words, not just us talking about it."

Days before the memorial events on Sunday, Sept. 11, teams of firefighters, area law enforcement officers, and military service members and veterans will deliver copies of Mollie Manhattan's book, "The Little White Truck with the Big Mission," to 17 fifth grade classrooms across the Greater Milwaukee area on Friday, Sept. 9.

The book tells the story of the pick-up truck used to travel to New York City following 9/11 to retrieve a section of steel from the World Trade Center and bring it back to the War Memorial Center.  

"We need to feed this message forward – we absolutely need to feed this message of community and unity," Lipski said, "that public service is good, that protective services are good. They're the ones everybody calls. Let us not forget that. We need to get the youth right now, and this is going to be a very, very important way to do that and memorialize the fallen."

Surrounding the Sept. 11 memorial events is the returning overarching theme of "We Are One," featured on a logo of the New York City skyline – including the World Trade Center towers – with wings on both sides and three solid bars below, all colored red for firefighters, green for military members and veterans, and blue for law enforcement. "We Are One" T-shirts, challenge coins and unity prints will be each sold for $20, $15 and $10 respectively, the proceeds helping to fund the book printing and "Standing for the Fallen" memorial event. A limited number of the shirts will be for sale (cash only) at MFD Engine Co. 2.

"The 'We Are One' message is something we want to display in our community," Manhattan said. "For 9/11, it's not just about what took place on that day; it's what took place after that day: that unity and that hope, which is what we're spreading into the schools with our fire, police and military teams, as well as that evening where we're inviting the community to stand with those who serve and stand for the fallen."

"Come and be a part of that community," Lipski said. "Come and see that these are real people. These are real people with families, and these are people who are just like you and me; they just made a choice to put themselves in harm's way so that you can live or you can not be injured."

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.