Step by step, floor by floor, local firefighters honored those who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11.
Firefighters from Midwest City and Del City participated in the fifth annual Oklahoma City 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb Saturday morning at the Cotter Ranch Tower in downtown Oklahoma City.
The event honored the 343 New York firefighters who died while trying to rescue people from the World Trade Center. Firefighters, dressed in full bunker gear, climbed 110 floors symbolizing the floors of the World Trade Center. Because the Cotter Ranch Tower, formerly the Chase Bank Tower, is only 36 floors, climbers made several trips up and down the building.
Each firefighter wore the name and picture of a fallen New York firefighter and climbed in their memory. After completing the task, each firefighter hung the name of the fallen firefighter on an accountability board and rang a bell. The event is limited to 343 climbers.
“We take it upon ourselves to honor them,” said Del City Fire Maj. Brandon Pursell. “And it’s something firefighters across the state and across the country do.”
Midwest City Fire Maj. Doug Beabout said the task is exhausting both emotionally and physically.
“It’s pretty emotional with the bagpipes and drums playing,” he said. “When you climb up those first 10-15 floors you realize that’s what those guys went up and they never came back down.”
The Midwest City and Del City fire departments each had eight climbers. Del City also had two members of their honor guard participate in the ceremony.
The Del City climbers were; Darren Appleby, Brandon Pursell, Shawn Carter, Tyler Payne, Ashton Vernon, Adam Shelby, Greg Nelson and Jon Sheehan. Marty Harrison and Brent Nolan served in the honor guard. Midwest City firefighters were; Chris Hudson, Doug Beabout, Casey McSparrin, Matt Mockabee, Tyler Nels, Eric Peach, Zac Foster and Caleb King.
Similar events are held in cities across the country near the 9/11 anniversary.