GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The firefighters who courageously climbed the stairs of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, went up 110 stories, and 22 years later, students at Green Bay West High School took 11 laps around the gymnasium bleachers to honor the fallen.
Even though 11 laps is only a tenth of what the first responders endured that tragic morning, students tried to keep the legacy of the fallen alive and honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“A lot of the students here today were not alive [for 9/11],” Lieutenant Shauna Walesh of Green Bay Metro Fire Department said. “Really, just going up those steps is just a small, tiny feeling of what that was like for the firefighters and first responders going up the steps on that day.”
Most of the students were born four years or more after September 11, 2001, but they still share what they can about others’ recollections.
“A lot of people in New York City, firefighters, medics, army, all came together to try to get people out while the building was collapsing at the same time,” senior Cat Pasterski said.
She geared up with a 70-pound pack on her back from the National Guard as she wove her way around the route in the gymnasium.
Those in the National Guard remember the weight the day carried as they witnessed it in their youth on television.
“In seventh grade, I remember watching the TV in my classroom when everything was happening, and it made me want to be a part of something bigger after that,” National Guard recruiter and Sergeant Alyssa Martin said.
National Guard recruiter and Sergeant Martin Figlinski had just left the Marine Corps, but his calling came for him again.
“It caused me to, within that year, enlist in the National Guard,” he said. “To see what it did to a nation that likes to divide itself, there’s no better day probably than September 12 when everybody was just American. It’s exceptional to see how much it means to kids who weren’t even alive when this happened.”