Sixteen years ago, more than 2,000 Americans lost their lives on 9-11 and of those thousands, more than 300 were fallen firefighters.
During North Dakota’s 9/11 Memorial Climb, many first responders say though far away, the firefighters who lost their lives are still close to their hearts.
With each step, a day and a life were remembered.
“It’s just really sad that innocent people lost their lives like that and I don’t want us to forget,” Nancy Green, Bismarck resident says.
So 85 firefighters and civilians climbed the capitol’s stairwell to remember those who lost their lives more than a decade ago.
“It was a significant event and I think for a lot of generations it was our Pearl Harbor,” Andrew Beck, Mandan Fire Department says.
They marched up 110 floors, the number first responders would have traveled to get to the top of the towers.
And all the way, they carried a picture of a first responder that was lost, Brandon Talaro, a firefighter out of Minot, carried two
“He was a senior guy at the time, and I’m glad I got to wear him on my shoulder, today,” Talaro says.
One face,and one name, out of the more than 300 first responders who lost their lives.
“We all have the same job duties. We don’t do it in the same place, we’re not at the same amount of calls, but it’s an opportunity to try to connect with the people that responded and went into the towers that day,” Beck says.
Beck says the climb is to make sure those affected are never forgotten and honored every year.
“It’s an annual opportunity to remember what happened and remember the people,” Beck says.
“It will not be forgotten,” Talaro says.
Twelve fire departments across the state participated in the climb with each carrying a picture of one of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on 9-11.
The climbers symbolically completed the flights of stairs those first responders would have taken to get to the top of the towers.
Proceeds from the third annual North Dakota 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb will go to the families of the fallen firefighters.