KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of the 8th Fighter Wing came together to pay a special tribute to the victims and the sacrifices of emergency responders involved with the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Airmen from the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department, 8th Medical Group and Security Forces Squadron joined to honor New York Fire Department firefighters by climbing the equivalent of 110 flights of stairs; equal to the number of flights in the World Trade Center.
Their individual tribute not only remembers the 343 FDNY firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11, but symbolically represents their heroic journey to save others.
Airmen who participated donned full firefighter gear and packs of equipment weighing up to 80 pounds, as they climbed up and down the stairwell dealing with muscle cramps and fatigue.
“It's important for people to see just one of the challenges that the first responders faced [on 9/11]; 110 flights of stairs can get very tiring,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Christian, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron fire inspector. “People don't realize how exhausting it can be until they've done it.”
Participants of the stair climb walked with a piece of paper containing the name of a firefighter, cop or medic who died that day. It served as an important gesture to never forget the brave men and women who gave their lives to protect others.
“It makes me feel proud to be a part of this mission, I take a lot of pride in being a firefighter,” said Staff Sgt. Bruce Lovett, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of logistics. “I look at every firefighter as being my brother and sister who would risk their lives to save another.”