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9/11 Remembrance Relay honors fallen servicewomen, including a late Bakersfield resident

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Supporters walk to remember service members
Posted at 11:39 PM, Sep 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 09:41:46-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Kern County remembers 9/11 and today Americans all over the country did the same. A group of supporters did more than just remember, they took action and walked from Shanksville, Pennsylvania to the Arlington National Cemetery in one week.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Zelia Vazquez was one of hundreds who participated in the 9/11 remembrance relay.

"It's 177 miles to commemorate each of the lives for every women we have lost," Vazquez said.

The group walked 177 miles to honor the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 177 servicewomen who have died in combat zones since.

"We’ve had about 150 in-person participants and about 800 virtual participants so I think that was amazing," Vazquez said.

Participants walked from the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and finished the walk today at the Arlington National Cemetery.

One of the members being honored is late Bakersfield native, Major Maria Victoria Sanchez. She had a 24 year military career serving as a trauma nurse in both Iraq and Afghanistan before losing her battle to colon cancer in 2015.

Vazquez said participating in the relay was a very humbling experience.

"In the service we always talk about you have to be willing to lay down your life for your country, for your family, for those you love and that’s exactly what they did. So it's an honor to be able to remember them and to be able to honor their sacrifice," Vazquez said.

Vazquez said this is the first year of the remembrance relay and she hopes it will become an annual event.