Well I did it, this morning I climbed 110 stories in honor of the 343 brothers who were murdered on 9/11/01 by faceless terrorists who tried to destroy our way of life, and our country.
Its been several hours since the climb, and even while I sit here writing this I am still struggling to get out how I feel, and the direction I want this post to go. Bottom line is folks I am not an emotional guy, I typically find emotional gestures as cheesy, or over the top. In fact I can only remember truly crying twice in my adult life (when both my Grandfathers died) so at this rate I think I only have about 4 more times that I may ever cry in my life (when my Grandmothers die, and when my Parents die, hopefully my wife and me will either go together or she out lives me).
However I went through a lot of different emotions, and while I did not cry I was definitely moved, and touched by what I saw and participated in today. I’ll explain:
Pride/Honor: First of all I was proud of the turnout that was there this morning, a lot of people sacrificed their weekend in order to do this
I was also proud and honored to carry the name and picture of Firefighter David Halderman Squad 18
Lastly I was proud of 2 individuals
First City of Richmond Fireman from Rescue Company 2 and most importantly my brother Danny O. Danny had to peel off for a break early on in the climb, but he did not let that stop him. When he was done I asked him if he was glad he did it, and he gave the answer I knew he would “There was no way I was not gonna do it”
Second my the Emergency Operations Assistant Manager for the Virginia Office of EMS, the President of East Hanover Volunteer Rescue Squad, and most importantly my wife Karen. A lot of people do not know this but during the Pentagon attack the VA EMS task forces were deployed, Karen’s job is the training, and management of those resources. Sometimes that means working the VA EOC, but on 9/11 she like so many others responded to the Pentagon to help. On top of that she is a mother of 2, a cancer survivor, and my wife so you know she has it rough everyday! She climbed the entire climb with me, and the only break we took was the elevator ride down! She did awesome.
Anger: Yea I said anger, I’m sure some of you are wondering how could anyone feel anger at an event like this? Well my anger had many levels. First while the turnout was good there is still no excuse for the Metro Richmond Area to not be able to fill up 343 spots. We couldn’t do it and I was a little peeved about that.
Second where were the chiefs? 98% of those climbing were fireman and company officers only 1 Chief of Department made the climb and that was Chief of the Richmond Fire Department Robert Creecy. Like or love hom he strapped on his DRESS UNIFORM (even down to the corafam shoes) and made the climb. No other Chief of Department made the climb. This really upset me, all of this talk about brotherhood, and doing the right thing, and they could not show the respect that was due and make the climb or for that matter even show up and give support to the men and women who were making the climb. Sadly there is a lot of brotherhood talk, but the ones who showed up today literally walk the walk of brotherhood. It’s hard to follow leaders who can’t make a small sacrifice.
Brotherhood: It was overwhelming, there were no strangers today, we were all 1 fire department, with one mission. When i was done with my climb me and Karen stayed to cheer on everyone else, we stayed until the last person rang the bell and I will admit every time someone rang the bell and said a name of a fallen brother I did get choked up.
Here are some more pictures:
All in all it was a great day, a great tribute, and a great event. A big thanks to the City of Richmond Fire Department for hosting the event, and continuing to prove why they are the Capital City Fire Department.
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word and STAY SAFE!