MACOMB, Mich. (WJBK) - Surrounded by the three colors that bind us all together, the parents of fallen Detroit Police officer Kenneth Steil watched the community honor their late son on Monday, September 11.
It's Patriot's Day, which started after September 11 to honor the heroism of first responders. On that day in 2001, close to 3,000 people died. More than 400 of those lives lost were first responders.
Pain of this type of loss is one that these parents understand.
"You just can't believe how nice it is inside, people still think of our son," says Kenneth Steil Sr.
Sgt. Steil, who was posthumously promoted to captain, was killed in the line of duty in Detroit almost a year ago on Sept. 17, 2016. Students of St. Peter Macomb joined hands with kids of Lutheran High North for Steil's family, including his two children. Their efforts wrapped up with a walk Monday morning. Steil's parents, wife and members of the Detroit Police Department walked with the students.
"The little bit that we're doing right now can just help them out, help them feel like they're loved, especially with their husband, brother, dad, son. I mean, what he did for us - working in the line of duty, losing his life to keep us safe - what more can you ask for?" says Anita Glaser from St. Peter Macomb.
"We just started out with a small group. Started up at 24 Mile and Garfield and they did a little walk to the school, and now it's grown with the high school being involved and the elementary school. It's students really realizing what today is all about, what Patriot's Day is all about," says Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham.
This is the ninth year for the Patriot's Walk these students do. Every step and every dollar goes to a cause they believe in, even as many of them weren't born yet on the day of the attacks.
The walk honoring police and firefighters 16 years later is a step in the right direction to help lift up families like taht of Capt. Steil after he gave so much to us.
"It's a special day for my son; it's a special day for anyone that had relatives in 9/11. It was just horrible. It's hard to remember it, but we have to because we don't want to forget," says Diane Steil.