Raul Ontiveros carries the U.S. flag on his run along SR 347 for the commemoration of Sept. 11, 2001. Photo by Kyle Norby

Every Sept. 11, we remember those we lost in one of history’s greatest tragedies in 2001. Mountain Pointe High School graduate Raul Ontiveros is paying his respects in a different way.

The buzz about someone running along State Route 347 with an American flag quickly spread as Ontiveros made his way out of town and pressed on, holding the flag with purpose. When approached and asked why he was doing this, Ontiveros made it clear that this wasn’t about him, it was about what this day in history means for so many Americans.

“This is how I am remembering 9/11,” Ontiveros said. “I come from a military family. I consider myself a patriot.”

Raul explained having recently graduated from high school, his goal now was to become a firefighter. High schoolers today are of the generation born after Sept. 11, 2001, and must learn about it like any other historical event, through videos and textbooks.

“Ya know, to be honest, I was only about 1 year old when it happened,” Ontiveros said. “But just thinking about that day pisses me off.”

Being a man on a mission, Ontiveros did not have much time to talk. He planned on getting to the halfway mark on the 347 before turning and running back to Maricopa.

Other Maricopans share their memories of Sept. 11, 2001: