Waxahachie and Midlothian firefighters will make the journey to Dallas this weekend to honor their fallen brothers and sisters who perished on Sept. 11, 2001. Firefighters will be climbing 110 stories as a part of the Dallas 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb event on Saturday, Sept. 7.
“I participated in the stair climb last year. Being able to take part and see 343 guys that were there to honor the guys who gave their lives on 9-11-01 was an incredible experience. Seeing everyone coming together and the ceremony to honor their sacrifice was really unique,” Midlothian Firefighter Scott Spaulding said. “I heard that they were doing it again this year and it was going to be bigger and better. They have invited 70 police officers to join the 343 firefighters. It is just a great opportunity for us to pay homage to those guys.”
Saturday’s event will start with a presentation of the colors by an honor guard and a performance of the national anthem. This will then be followed by a moment of silence, which corresponds with the time the first plane struck the south tower. After the ceremony and presentations climbers will be led out of the staging area by bagpipes and drums.
Firefighters and police officers taking part in the climb are given a full biographical sketch and accountability tag of a first responder who died in the line of duty. The 10 members of the Midlothian Fire Department are climbing in memory New York firefighters who were assigned to Rescue Five. Rescue Five lost 11 of the 12 firefighters that made up its company during the terrorist attack.
“We are climbing for the firefighters from Rescue Five. They were just trying to help the public and they paid the ultimate sacrifice. It is just cool that we are getting to climb as a memorial for the guys,” Midlothian firefighter David Silas said “It is small in the big picture that we are just climbing a few sets of stairs but it is in remembrance of some pretty important guys.”
Midlothian Fire Department Capt. Jeffery Silva agreed with Silas that is our why to honor these firefighters who gave everything. Silva added that everyone has been pushing each other to train before the event on Saturday to prepare for the challenge.
Climbers will then be arranged into the respective companies according to staffing assignments on Sept. 11. The climb will start in the second basement of the Renaissance Tower in Downtown Dallas. Firefighters and police officers will climb 55 stories and then go back down to climb the 55 stories again to reach the total height of the World Trade Center. Firefighter will be making the climb in full bunker gear and air packs.
Waxahachie Fire Department Capt. Josh Anderson is one of six Waxahachie firefighters that is participating in this years stair climb. During the climb firefighters will be representing New York firefighters who were assigned to Ladder 15. These firefighters were able to save the lives of four people before they were killed.
“This year is my first year to do it and the main reason is just to show my support for the New York firefighters who died on Sept. 11. I have heard a lot from the guys who have gone before. They have described how meaningful it is,” Anderson said. “It gives me a lot of pride to climb in memory of these firefighters. It easy for us to move on with our lives and to forget but this kind of brings us back home to remember what these guys sacrificed their lives for.”
The time that each tower collapsed will be remembered by firefighters stopping to activate their Personal Alert Safety System or PASS device for 10-15 seconds. This will then be followed by a moment of silence. When the climbers reach the top of the tower the tag bearing the name of the fallen hero they are wearing will be placed on the accountability board. A bell will then ring to symbolize that their first responder made it to the top.
The opening ceremony will start at 8 a.m. and the climb will start at 8:50 a.m. The Renaissance Tower is located at 1201 Elm St. in downtown Dallas. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
For more information about the climb go to its website at www.dallasstairclimb.com.
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