9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in San Diego

9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in San Diego

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September 11, 2001: Eleven years to the day today. Across the nation, memorials and remembrances are taking place commemorating that day and those who were lost. In San Diego, Firefighter Aid sponsored a stair climb event that gave firefighters, law enforcement officers, members of the military and civilians the opportunity to climb 110 floors at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront Hotel, in the name of the 343 FDNY firefighters who died on that fateful day. 

Slideshow: The Faces of the Climbers

Participants gathered to remember those lost during opening ceremonies and then began the climb, passing under an American flag flying between the raised ladders of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department trucks 20 and 28. The climbers were led by the SDFRD chiefs, with Chief Javier Mainar in the lead. Each climber carried a badge and photo representing one of the firefighters, Port Authority officers, police officers, or EMTs who died on that day. Many chose to wear full turnout gear, simulating conditions faced by their brothers who paid the ultimate price that fateful morning.

With the Hilton only being 30 stories tall, climbers made their way to the top floor, and were then whisked back to ground level to continue the climb. As the floor count grew higher, climbers pushed each other on, sometimes stopping for a quick rest, but never forgetting their goal as they climbed, one step after another. Regardless of how tired they were, when the climbers made it to the top floor, there was always a smile and a surge of energy. And time to hold up the image and name of the person they carried with them.

Heading up the stairs for the last time, a firefighter summed up the day as he held up the image and name of the firefighter he was representing: “This is not for me, it’s for them.”