- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 20, 2001

More than 200 Washington-area torchbearers will take part in an Olympic tradition tomorrow and Saturday, carrying the flame through the region on its way to Salt Lake City for February's Winter Games of the XIX Olympiad.
The flame arrives in Arlington tomorrow morning, and after passing beneath a tunnel of American flags leading to the Pentagon, it will pause for a moment of silence to honor the heroes and victims of the terrorist attacks against the United States.
"Since September 11, the country's been waiting for something like this to happen, where we can sort of boast that we're back," said Francis Slakey, a physics professor at Georgetown University and a torchbearer.
During its two-day passage through the metropolitan area, the torch will serve as the centerpiece of several area celebrations.
From Washington, the torch will be carried to Baltimore, then to Wilmington, Del., and on to Philadelphia.
One torchbearer in Northern Virginia is Jerome I. Williams, a firefighter with the Fairfax County Fire Department.
Mr. Williams, a recruit training officer at the Fire and Rescue Academy, was nominated by the 102nd recruit class. He said the class told him his nomination was based on his inspirational and motivational spirit.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Mr. Williams, who will carry the torch for one-fifth of a mile in Arlington beginning shortly before noon tomorrow.
Mr. Slakey, who climbed Mount Everest to help remove garbage left by generations of climbers, will carry the torch down the U.S. Capitol steps and then sprint three blocks, which he says will be as exhilarating as his climb.
Another Virginian carrying the torch, Shana Montesol Johnson, co-founded a nonprofit tutoring program for junior high school students. She was nominated by a friend who cited the program she began.
Ms. Johnson said friends and family are coming to town from as far away as California and Chicago to cheer her on as she carries the torch Saturday morning for one-fifth of a mile on Connecticut Avenue.
"I'm incredibly excited about this event," Ms. Johnson said.
This article based in part on wire service reports.

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