LAGRANGE, Ga. (WTVM) - Firefighters, in this country and elsewhere, are honoring the 343 first responders who lost their lives in the 9/11 terror attacks 18 years ago today. The LaGrange Fire Department held their Annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb Challenge Wednesday morning at Callaway Stadium.
Firefighters from the Lagrange and Troup County Fire Departments, as well as volunteers, climbed 110 flights of stairs up and 110 flights of stairs down to represent the 110 flights of stairs in the Twin Towers.
Radio traffic from 9/11 played in the background during this morning’s stair climb.
“You can’t help but think about what those men and women climbing up. A little bit of motivation as you’re going kind of remembering hey, this is the least I can do considering what they did," said Lt. Troy Reynolds with the LaGrange Fire Department.
LaGrange Fire Chief John Brant says the stair climb is one way to honor the fallen heroes who gave everything in the Twin Towers.
“Our new generation of firefighters were barely born or either young at the time and don’t really remember this and we want to make sure they understand the significance of that day and understand the sacrifices that were made," Chief Brant said.
Firefighter Charles Mallory with the LaGrange Fire Department, who was a sophomore in high school at the time of 9/11, describes his experience participating in this year’s stair climb.
“Hot. Tough. It’s up and down continuously. Your legs wear out. Just fatigue sets in. Heat had a lot to do with it with the gear," Mallory said.
Mallory’s gear weighs about 70 pounds.
“It humbles you in a sense that knowing what they were doing and the majority of them probably had what’s called hospital packs and tools going up, which we didn’t have so, to know that they did that in those circumstances and that situation with that equipment is very humbling," Mallory explained.
18 years later, and it is still an emotional day for Americans across the country.
“That’s the main thing we want to do this is to make sure that people truly never forget what happened that day,” Chief Brant said.
Federal cues rang out from the fire truck marking significant times throughout the morning including the time the planes hit the towers and when they collapsed. Proceeds from Wednesday’s stair climb will benefit the Terry Farrell Firefighter’s Fund of Georgia.