Nashville 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb | Nashville Event Photographer
Like any monumental incident in our nation’s history, we’ll all be able to recall exactly where we were the moment we heard the news. For me, it was second period chemistry class my junior year of high school as we watched, in shock, as the smoke billowed out of the World Trade Center’s north tower. And then moments later, as we watched the second plane hit the south tower.
There’s no question that 9/11 will forever be an important date in the lives of Americans. And this time every year, it’s our chance to remember all who lost their lives that fateful day. Those who went to work as if the day was unlike any other. And those who willingly gave up their own lives to save whoever they could.
110 flights of stairs. That’s how many stories tall the Twin Towers were. The number of stories that, if it had been possible to reach, those firefighters would have climbed to save a life.
343. The number of firefighters who were reported missing or confirmed dead that day. 343 men and women who lost their lives that day. Because they were called to duty and never gave a thought otherwise.
This year, Nashville held its inaugural 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. In remembrance of those firefighters who gave their lives, with proceeds to benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, firefighters from around Tennessee (and at least three other states) gathered at Nashville’s Pinnacle building. 343, to be exact. And each one with the goal of climbing 110 flights of stairs and each one carrying a photo of a brother or sister who died in the Twin Towers.
It was a truly emotional day. Not just because we were remembering lives that were lost, but because each of today’s 343 participants know that they, too, may be called to the “big one”. Those of us who are a part of the fire service, whether it is by choice of vocation, marriage or relation – we wake up each morning knowing that there might come a day when we are asked to sacrifice all that we hold dear. And so the reality is so much more real.
Thank you to those firefighters (and other emergency personnel) who gave their lives that day, without hesitation. And thank you to those families who made the biggest sacrifice of all. We’ll never forget.