Yesterday I had the honor of completing my third 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. This year I climbed in full PPE and SCBA (not on air). It was tough, and hot.
Even as tough as it is, the climbs I have done are nothing compared to what the 343 and the hundreds of others who went to the towers on that faithful day.
Some people climb in silence, some cheer people on, some have everyday conversations. When I climb I talk, but I talk about the sacrifice. I look a lot at the picture of the person I am carrying, I talk about how difficult it must have been for them. How they didn’t stop even though they knew the odds going in where not good. How climbing these stairs is tough, but how much more difficult it would have been with people going the opposite way, smoke, fire, etc.
No matter how you climb, or what you climb in, the fact that YOU DO climb is what is important. A lot of people talk about brotherhood, some speak it, some tattoo it, some use it to justify things. Climbing in my opinion is the ULTIMATE example of brotherhood. Your money goes to the National Fallen Firefighters, and also to things like the FDNY Family Counseling Unit which a few years ago almost had to shut down. On top of that you get to literally walk the walk and honor the sacrifices of our murdered brothers. Do not just be a talker, become a climber and truly show that you will never forget.
A big thank you needs to be thrown out to the 343 firefighters we had climbing yesterday, who truly are people who get it. Another thank you to the City of Richmond Fire Department who AGAIN hosted the climb, it could not be done without them.
Below are some pictures and video of the initial walk up the hill. I am proud as usual that my wife Karen (Life Member EHVRS, and Emergency Operations Manager for the Va. Office of EMS), my brother Danny (City of Richmond Fireman Rescue Co. 2, and Life Member MVFD) climbed again for the third time. Also proud that my brother-in-law Adam Ellis (Damage Control Fireman United States Navy) was finally not on deployment and able to climb for the first time. I am most proud that my boys got to come and watch the climb and see the importance of what and why we are climbing. During one of my breaks on the top floor they asked if they could do the climb when they get bigger, that right there was motivation enough to keep going!
If you want to read about my other Stair Climb Experiences
No matter what you do make sure at some point you do a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, or if you can not do the climb sign up and have someone carry your firefighter for you.
Also make sure you do something to remember and honor not only the 343, but all that have made the ultimate sacrifice and have come before us.
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!