Photo/Jaine Treadwell

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Although it’s not cold outside, it soon will be and Liane Knotts and the Liberty Riders have joined forces with the Junior Red Cross and the Junior Fire Marshals in a Coats for Kids drive that will provide warm winterwear for foster children and others in need. Liane and sister Tabitha, found the coats provided warmth against the brisk wind late Wednesday afternoon. Donations of good, clean coats may be dropped off at the Red Cross Office or at Haynes Ambulance Service. Arrangements for pickups may be made by calling 566-3989 or 808-4161.

Liberty Riding on the wave of patriotism


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Features Editor

The attacks on America Sept. 11 started a wave of patriotism not evident in this county since World War II.

However, Liane Knotts, a student at Banks Middle School, started waving the American flag in a show of youthful patriotism months before the terrorist attacks on the United States.

Not long before Independence Day 2001, Liane gave a lot of thought to the role her family has played in the defense of freedom – from the American Revolution through the Gulf War.

She wanted to do something to show her appreciation to them and all of the men and women who have served and to show her patriotism for her country. So, she organized a group called the Liberty Riders and asked permission for the young patriots to ride bicycles in the Independence Day Parade in Brundidge June 30.

For Liane, that was just the first step in the role the fifth grader has taken in community youth leadership.

"I just stated thinking that there are a lot of ways that young people can be involved in their communities and a lot of things that we can do help people," Liane said. "I wanted to do things that mean something, no just sit around and watch TV all the time."

Liane gave some thought to what the Liberty Riders could do. One of those things was show their patriotism by riding in parades and participating in events. Other than that, it was a wait-and-see situation.

What happened Sept. 11 was nothing anyone saw coming.

"The attacks were horrible and I wanted to do something to show that the people of Alabama cared and that we supported the men and women in our military," Liane said.

The idea she had was to make a banner and ask everyone to sign it with good wishes and word of support and encouragement.

The banner has been available for signing at almost every community event since Sept. 11 and, to date, more than 19,000 signatures have been recorded.

"The banner is 1,000 feet long and we only have about 150 feet left," Liane said. "The banner will be on display Nov. 18 on the square in Troy and, after that, we will cut it in five-foot sections and it will be sent to our military in different places so they can see that the people of Pike County and Alabama are behind them."

The recruiters for the different branches of the military are assisting Liane with her project and will make the necessary arrangements for the delivery of the banner.

With that project almost completed, Liane and the Liberty Riders began looking for another service project.

"It’s going to soon be cold weather and a lot of children don’t have warm coats or jackets to wear," Liane said. "We talked about that a lot of people are able to buy new coats every year and that it would be nice if they would donate their old ones to children who need them."

The Liberty Riders joined forces with the Junior Red Cross and the Junior Fire Marshals in a "Coats for Kids" program and are in the process of collecting coats and jackets to be distributed by the Department of Human Resources to foster children and to others in need of warm clothing for the winter.

"We are asking everyone who has a coat or jacket that is in good condition and clean to donate it to Coats for Kids," Liane said.

Coats can be dropped off at the Red Cross office on East Walnut Street or at Haynes Ambulance Service behind Taco Bell.

If it is not convenient to drop off the coats, call

566-3984 or 808-4161 to make arrangements to have the donations picked up.

Liane expressed appreciation to everyone who has been so supportive of the Liberty Riders and their projects. She especially wanted to thank her mom, Wanda Knotts, and her grandmother, Katie Hale, who have been behind her all the way and her sister, Tabitha Knotts, who is always at her side.