On the evening of September 11th, 2021, a group of 140 people gathered at the grandstand of the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Bishop, California, to participate in a memorial stair climb.
Some firefighters wore their full gear as they climbed. One person held an American flag high. They all followed the same solemn route; up one side of the stairs, and down the other. Each step took them closer to their goal; 2,200 stairs, or 110 stories, the exact number of stairs it would take to climb to the top of the World Trade Center.
On September 11th, 2001, 2,977 people perished in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Of those lost, 343 were firefighters killed in the line of duty, and each person who climbed the stairs twenty years later held one of their names.
Out of each of the firefighters that passed that day, many of them had climbed the same number of stairs, weighed down by around 60 pounds of gear and the knowledge that though these could be their final moments, they would use those moments to save lives.
“The purpose of our event was to remember 9/11, to never forget this day, and to ensure that our families and everyone else continues to celebrate the people who gave their lives that day,” said Bishop Fire Chief Joe Dell.
Every flag in town is at half mast, and passing by the Bishop Fire Department, a flag hangs from the outstretched ladder of one of the fire trucks, a silent gesture of remembrance.
The memorial stair climb has been an ongoing event for the last three years, and the fire department welcomes your participation in the years going forward.
All proceeds from the climb went to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, whose purpose is to honor fallen firefighters, work to reduce death and injury in the fire service community, and to help provide resources for the families of those lost in the line of duty.
To find more about the Bishop Fire Department, click here.
To learn more about or donate to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, click here.
To watch video of the stair climb, here is Part 1 and Part 2. Video credit to Shutter Me Short Photography.