Fifteen years have passed since 9/11 and firefighters are climbing stairs to honor those who fell that day trying to save lives. The attacks on the World Trade Center killed 343 firefighters from the New York City Fire Department, 70 law enforcement officers, and 9 EMTs. Civilians can also do the climbing and contribute to help different organizations to fundraise for fire service survivors.

New Zealand firefighters also joined the tradition for those who died in 9/11 and their local brothers and sisters because they consider firefighters are a worldwide family. Every year thousands of men and women dedicated to saving lives using their heavy yellow gear honor the 343 firefighters that died during the horrendous terrorist attack that happened on September 11. The ritual has become a tradition in every state of the U.S and has encouraged others in far countries to do the same to remember their brave sacrifice.

The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs are not timed race events, but a way for firefighters and the community to honor and remember the FDNY firefighters. Image Credit: Fox News

Climbing 110 stories, the same amount The World Trade Center has, also helps different organizations that aim to help burnt firefighters, whether paying for their treatment directly or supporting physicians in the United States to performed clinical trials seeking to improve methods in burn surgery.

First responders in North Texas climbed Dallas Renaissance Tower twice on Saturday to complete the 110 stories and in San Diego, the climbing was held at the Hilton San Diego Bay Front. At Tupelo, Mississippi, firefighters and civilians climbed all the steps in the BancorpSouth Arena twice to ring the bell and remember one of the victims.

Participants go up 1,500 steps -110 stories- to symbolize the journey the 343 would have made to save more lives if they had survived. Firefighters wear their protective gear, and usually, they hold the photo or bibliography of one of the victims. Then, after reaching the last story, they say the name of a first responder who lost his or her life during 9/11 and finally rang a bell.

People also remember other first responders and everybody that has given their life to serve their country. Thus, veterans, police officers and EMTs around the world make the journey taking the stairs.

One of the organizations helping fire service personnel through the stair climb challenge is the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. They contribute to creating and maintain programs that support fire service survivors. And the Sons of the the Flag seek to improve methods in burn surgery and support advanced clinical trials that aim to give firefighters that got burn during the job a better treatment.

Other groups helping first responders are Parkland Foundation, Stay the Course Veterans Service and the Lt. Todd Wesley Memorial Foundation, which support Dallas Fire Fighters and their families.

The 9/11 attacks lasted a few hours and took the life of many, but the aftermath continues to kill hundred more slowly

Sadly, 343 is not the final death toll that the terrorist attack left back in 2001. The FDNY reports that 127 members have died since 9/11 due to illness related to their work at the rescue site and recovery efforts of the two towers. The New York City Fire Department held a memorial service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday to honor their memories.

On September 6, it was announced that the names of 127 men and women who died due to serving at the site of the terrorist attack would be added to the FDNY World Trade Center Memorial Wall at FDNY Headquarters in Brooklyn. Commissioner Nigro said the number of those who lost their life to the attack of September 11th continues to grow every year, from 343 members that tragic day to now 127 members who bravely battle illness directly related to their work at the crash of the planes.

He continued and said “Remembering these true heroes, and never forgetting their selfless sacrifice, is one of the FDNY’s most important traditions.”

Jim Smagala, a survivor of 9/11, sees good in remembering but also sadness. He describes the memorials and the anniversaries as a double-edged sword because in one sense, he is happy that everyone in the nation remembers those who fallen that day. But at the same time, it is hard for him because he lost a firefighter brother and he has to relive the moment every year; Smagala told Fox 5, San Diego.

Firefighting is a universal family, and everyone relates, no matter how far they are from the United States

The Memorial Firefighting Stair Climb was done at the Sky City in Auckland to follow the tradition of honoring every firefighter lost in the line of duty, and it marked the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York.

Fire service is “one big family no matter where in the world they’re based”, said Tony Scott, the event organizer and a firefighter himself. This year, more than 160 firefighters from New Zealand climbed Auckland’s Sky Tower on Sunday in memory of those who lost their life trying to help people after the two planes crashed and 56 “Kiwis” who have died doing their brave job.  

Stuff reports that after scaling the 110 stories, the firefighters marched down Federal St. in central Auckland in their formal suits as the Police Pipe Band played a lament and watched a Haka, a traditional war cry or dance.

9/11 Stair Climbing is celebrated the day before the anniversary or on the same day, but New York’s Memorial Stair Climbing is organized in March, and the third climbing will be on March 19, 2017. You can register in November and help those who are always there to help you. We will never forget

Source: FDNY