TEXARKANA, Texas: Three Texarkana Texas firefighters will honor firefighters who lost their lives nearly 20 years ago as part of the 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb in Dallas on Sept. 4.
This will be the first year that Zach Flanagan, a pilot engineer, Captain Eric McCasland and Dustin Newman, a pilot engineer, will participate in the climb, Flanagan said.
“They do these climbs every year to remember those who were lost. It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to do it and it’s worked this year,” Flanagan said.
Three hundred and forty-three New York City firefighters were killed in the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. This year marks 20 years since the attack.
Registration for the event fills up in about five minutes, so TTFD firefighters were thankful to have secured spaces.
The climbs will be made nationwide, but this is the tenth year of the climb in Dallas. It will be held at Fountain Place, a skyscraper that is one of the tallest in the city.
Firefighters will climb 110 floors at full speed.
“It’s going to be a physical and mental challenge. We’ve been doing cardio trying to get ready,” Flanagan said.
He said Texas A&M University opened a stairwell for them to train and Arkansas High School opened their stadium.
“We’ve been putting up our equipment and climbing on it. It weighs about 50 pounds,” Flanagan said.
Every lost life is represented by a fireman climbing up. Everyone has a photo called hanging on their computer.
Firefighters will also go up in honor of the first lifeguards who died due to diseases related to the terrorist attacks since 9/11.
Flanagan said he and the others are humiliated to be able to make the climb and only want to honor those who lost their lives that day.
“We just want to remember them. We went up because they went up,” he said.
Flanagan was in eighth grade in 2001 and watched events unfold on television.
“He probably played an important role in the decision to become a firefighter, but I think once I became one, the sacrifices they made were more important,” he said.