Ten members of the Maryville Fire Department participated in the annual Knoxville 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at World’s Fair Park on Sept. 11, the city said in a press release.
The annual event is hosted by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and represents a symbolic way to honor and remember New York firefighters, police and other first responders who selflessly gave their lives for others on Sept. 11, 2001. The event also serves to raise funds for families of fallen firefighters.
Wearing their full bunker gear and air packs, Maryville firefighters climbed the equivalent of the 110 World Trade Center stories as a symbolic gesture to remember the sacrifice made by 412 individuals who died while saving others that day.
This year, 220 people participated in the Knoxville event.
Each participant in the event carried the name of one of the fallen and on reaching the top, read the name and rang a memorial bell.
“It helps us reflect on the magnitude of what happened that day,” Maryville Fire Lt. Steven Talbott said.
“We got to hear the radio traffic from when the second tower was hit. To know those firefighters heard that call and without hesitation continued to run in knowing they would not come out — to me that was just extraordinary,” he said.
The Maryville team hopes to participate every year. “Because of the work we do and the amount of time we are all together, the people here become your second family,” Talbott said.
“That spirit goes beyond the department. No matter where you go in the world, when you meet another firefighter, there is an automatic bond. There is something very special about honoring the people who laid down their lives that day — because they were family,” he said.
Those interested in more information on the annual memorial stair climb can visit firehero.org.