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March to the Arch – Locals make 21-mile trek downtown to honor 9/11 victims

ST. LOUIS – Dozens of people marked the somber anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks by participating in the March to the Arch.

More than 100 people began the march at Mike Duffy's Pub & Grill in Town and Country to honor the lives lost 17 years ago.

A 21-mile salute from a diverse group that included people in their 80s, a firefighter wearing her full 70 pounds of gear, also an Army veteran who was inspired to join the military after 9-11.

"I just remember watching it on  TV and it's terrifying...to see that happening in our country and I think that's when I made up my mind that after high school I was going to go right into the service," said US Army veteran Bryan Santschi.

Fenton firefighter Stephanie Spaniol said she was marching in honor of the firefighters who died on September 11.

"The whole time I'm thinking that I'm tired, I'm hungry, you know when is our next stop, I need some more to drink, my calves are cramping, my back hurts, but that isn't anything compared to what those guys felt that day," she said.

82-year-old Iris Koprivica said she's been involved with the annual march for 15 years.

"I think I was personally affected because it was Americans, civilians, they weren't military and it was such a shock to our nation," she said.

Bo Drochelman, the founder of the March to the Arch, began things as a one-man event in 2002. He grabbed a flag and made the trek to the Gateway Arch from his home in Chesterfield.

Many of Tuesday’s marchers said that in addition to honoring the 9-11 victims, they rekindle the spirit and unity we experienced as a country after 9-11 attack and have that feeling a least for a day while marching the streets of St. Louis.