GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)-There were 343 firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11.
Pierce Manufacturing and the Green Bay Metro Fire Department is making sure their sacrifices are never forgotten—hosting the ninth annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Lambeau Field.
“I remember seeing all those firefighters, burning building, collapse likely to occur, no care for themselves just want to save everybody else,” says a firefighter with the Peshtigo Fire Department.
Firefighters came from all over to take part in the stair climb at Lambeau Field. The participants weave up and down the stadium bowl stairs until they have climbed the equivalent of the 110 floors of the World Trade Center.
Organizers send out the climbers in waves of 343 people, a nod to the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on that day.
When participants reach the equivalent of 78 floors, which was the highest floor firefighters were able to reach on 9/11, they ring a bell and belt out the name of a firefighter who died on 9/11.
Climb participants include firefighters, other first responders, veterans and active-duty military, and even survivors of the 9/11 attacks.
“Every morning I feel guilty that we’re here and there are so many that aren’t and especially the ones who ran into the building,” says John Kneeley who was a survivor of 9/11.
John and his wife Donna worked on the 77th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower. They were able to rush down the staircase and escaped just before the building collapsed. They watched the collapse from the ground.
“It looked like the facade of tower two was melting off, it looked like it was happening in slow motion and we just stood there,” says both John and Donna Kneeley.
Over 3,000 people completed the 110-story climb.
“It means a lot being firefighters to represent the firefighters who passed away,” says members of the Peshtigo Fire Department.
Proceeds from the event go to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Organizers say this climb has grown into one of the largest of its kind in the nation.