Nearly 400 people participate in the Chattanooga Stair Climb Memorial to honor 9/11 first responder victims
Brian Fitzpatrick, a firefighter with FDNY's Ladder 22, nearly brought to tears by the local response
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The first plane struck the World Trade Center at 8:43 in the morning on this day in 2001.
Today at that time, New York City read the names that are memorialized at the site of the World Trade Center.
Locally, first responders and their friends and family here in Chattanooga walked the steps of AT&T Field, and it brought a current member of New York’s fire department to tears.
21 years after terrorists took down the World Trade Center, New York continues to stay strong.
Some of that is due to the support of first responders around the country.
AT&T Field was the site of the Chattanooga Stair Climb Memorial, where local first responders and anyone willing to participate would climb steps in a similar fashion to those who did so at the World Trade Center.
Brian Fitzpatrick is a current firefighter in New York City with Ladder 22, and he helped kick off this event Sunday. Chattanooga’s response nearly brought him to tears.
“Remembrance. You look at this? It’s absolutely incredible. 21 years later, there (are) 400 people out here paying respect to those fallen members, and it’s an awesome sight to see.”
Those that wanted to show their support for the 343 people who lost their lives on that fateful day did so with a heavy heart, like Tanya Manoni, the wife of a current Chattanooga firefighter.
“While all of those people were trying to get out, these men (and women) were risking their lives running into danger’s way, running into harm’s way. And, they risked their lives, and many … 343 of them, died.”
“We’re giving back for the guys that are not here now. So, we’re, pretty much, remembering them, and just taking it to heart. We will never forget what happened, and we will do this and remember them so they are not forgotten,” says Anthony Jones, a firefighter who traveled 4 1/2 hours from Fort Rucker, AL to be in Chattanooga.
Chattanooga hasn’t had anything happen to the scale of 9/11, but the city isn’t immune to a terror attack.
July 16th, 2015. Five servicemen are killed when a homegrown extremist kills four U.S. Marines and a Navy sailor. They are now known as the Fallen Five, and some of today’s participants had them on their minds before climbing the steps at AT&T Field.
Randy Albright, a deputy chief with the East Ridge Fire Department, explained it this way: “We always think about all of our service members in the military any time we do anything. It’s a feeling of patriotism whenever you get to come out and show support for your country when you do an event like this.”
Fitzpatrick: “When tragedies like (9/11) happen, it doesn’t just happen to one city. It happens to everybody in the country. We would not have been able to get through that without the help of everybody in the country. So, it’s not just specific to us.”
Many firefighters in full gear walked all the steps of AT&T Field. Others decided to take laps around the grounds. Everyone did it to walk the same 3.43 miles the firefighters at the World Trade Center did.
One of them was Fitzpatrick.
“It’s with you for the rest of your life trying to honor them. Make sure that they’re never forgotten, and live up to the job, and do it out of respect to them.”