Kendra Lyn, NBC 5 News
Taking the stairs took on a deeper meaning Saturday morning in Dallas as firefighters honored 9/11 fallen with a memorial stair climb.
Taking the stairs took on a deeper meaning Saturday morning in Dallas. Hundreds of firefighters honored the fallen heroes of 9/11 with a memorial stair climb.
"We can never forget those brave Americans who were murdered that infamous day," one firefighter said.
Now, nearly 11 years after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, hundreds of firefighters from 94 departments and four states gathered in Dallas to remember.
One-by-one firefighters walked by and touched a piece of steel from the Twin Towers, and suited up to head into the Renaissance Tower in Downtown Dallas. They're remembering their fallen brothers and sisters who rushed into the burning buildings in New York City to help save lives, when everyone else was rushing out.
"343 Firefighters, each one is climbing for the 343 firefighters lost on September 11th," said event organizer John Barrett.
The firefighters climbed 55 stories at the Renaissance building twice. It represents the 110 flights that crews climbed in the Twin Towers.
"I think it's very humbling. We're just climbing up there to do 110 stories. They were climbing up there to do some work and do what they've got to do," said Chris Willits from the Plano Fire Department.
The firefighters did not make the climb alone. Each one carried a picture of a fallen firefighter, who did not survive 9/11.
"John Napolitano. He was with Rescue 2, FDNY. He was one of the bodies that wasn't found. He was on his way to the 83rd floor to check for fire victims," said Daniel Pierce from Rowlett Fire Rescue. Pierce wore a picture of Napolitano around his neck during the climb.
Along the way, the firefighters paused in the stairwell at 8:59 a.m. and 9:28 a.m., the time each tower fell.
The climb raised money for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Texas Line of Duty Death Task Force, and the Twin Towers Orphan Fund, which helps the firefighters' survivors.
"They did it because they were called to. That's why we do it," said Pierce.