Chattanooga memorial stair climb honors 9/11 first responders - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga memorial stair climb honors 9/11 first responders

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The first responders who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 are still on the minds of many including those in Chattanooga. Hundreds of people took part in the Chattanooga 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at the SunTrust Bank building in Downtown Chattanooga as a way to honor them.

Firefighters and people in the Chattanooga community climbed 14 flights of stairs, 8 times. That's the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center.

It was their way of paying tribute to the 343 firefighters who gave their all 15 years ago on September 11th.

"It gives you a sense of accomplishment. It gives you a sense of pride when you go down to ring the bell and call out those guys' names that you wore on your chest on the way up and down," Commander Randy Albright of the East Ridge Fire Department.

Commander Albright has been involved with the stair climb since it started three years ago. While the journey wasn't easy for some, Albright said the pictures in the stairwell of the firefighters who lost their lives are his motivation.

"Keep going because they didn't quit that day, so I'm not going to either today," Commander Albright said.

Organizers said they decided to hold the event a week later to give firefighters and others a chance to take part in surrounding stair climbs in cities like Nashville and Atlanta. They told Channel 3 more than 200 people participated this year.

"It makes you feel proud. It makes you think you're doing something good," Michael Rush, an organizer said.

Firefighters suited up wearing anywhere between 70 to 100 pounds of gear like the first responders who answered the call at the World Trade Center.

In another stairwell, community members made the trek up the SunTrust Bank building. Organizers say they had the option of wearing an oxygen tank, but couldn't wear full gear for safety reasons.

"Well we just try to be motivational and remember that they didn't get to stop in between like we do, so it keeps us going," Makenzie Sherman of Chattanooga said.

The pictures clipped to Sherman's clothes gave her strength to finish climbing the equivalent of 110 stories.

"Just that we're doing it for them. It's really sentimental in there and i just want to keep going for them," Sherman said.

The stair climb supports the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. 

Organizers said donations are still coming in, but they've raised more than $50,000 between the stair climb and heroes run on Sunday. To find out how you can help, visit their website.

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