red bank mark otto 091119Red Bank resident Mark Otto nears the end of an 11-mile hike from Mount Mitchill in Atlantic Highlands Wednesday morning while carrying an American flag bearing the names of all those who died in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

red bank mark otto 091119Otto, a Marine war veteran who heads the United War Veterans Council, is a regular long-distance walker and flag-carrier, which has earned him the nickname of “the flag guy” from passersby.

Wednesday’s hike, however, from the site of the Monmouth County 9/11 Memorial, was special, he said, because of the intimate memories shared by people he met along the way.

His aim in carrying the flag, he said, is to remind all who see it to “never forget” those whose names are inscribed on the flag, those who rushed into the sites of the horror, and those who defend the country. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)