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:

Middletown
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.

Somerville
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.

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