Firefighters plan unique tribute for 9/11 anniversary
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Over 300 firefighters from across the country will participate in a unique tribute in Nashville on September 11.
The firefighters will climb the stairs of the Pinnacle Building downtown to remember their colleagues killed in the line of duty.
Firefighters participating in the event from the Smyrna Fire Department suited up to practice Monday morning.
"We're training and trying to climb with our gear on to know what to expect when we come on [September 11]," said Josh Smith, a firefighter at Station 3 in Smyrna.
He told News 2 that since they advertised the memorial climb in July, they've had hundreds of responses from around the country.
"The response has been incredible," he said. "We've had nine states represented. We'll have an FDNY firefighter, a firefighter from New Jersey and we'll have seven other states represented, plus all of Tennessee."
In total, 343 firefighters will climb the stairs next month.
"Each firefighter will climb with a lanyard around their neck, with a picture and name with one of the fallen firefighters from September 11," Smith explained, "so everyone will be climbing in memory of one firefighter who died that day."
It will take the firefighters about an hour to an hour and a half to complete four separate trips up the stairs of the Pinnacle Building.
The four trips amount to 110 flights of stairs, the same amount firefighters climbed in New York.
"We want to do an event as firefighters, coming together to remember the sacrifice they did and try to simulate and commemorate what they went through that day by climbing 110 floors," Smith said.
He told News 2 he got the idea for the memorial climb from firefighters in Denver who began a similar event in 2005.
"One of the reasons I wanted to do it was because I feel like it's been forgotten somewhat, what the guys went through and how many lives were lost on September 11," he continued. "It's going to be a challenge, but I think it'll be rewarding when [we] finish it."
The money raised from the memorial climb will go toward the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.