Written by Jess Paniszczyn
Twelve years later, the horror and loss of September 11, 2001 are not forgotten. Events like the third annual Dallas 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, held in Renaissance Tower on Sep. 7, continue to bring the community together to heal while remembering those who were lost.
The 343 firefighters representing 88 fire departments and the 70 police officers representing 21 police departments from three states climbed 110 stories, symbolizing the journey to the top of the World Trade Center Towers. Dressed in their protective gear or duty equipment, each participant carried the name of a firefighter or police officer who died during the 9/11 attacks. During the event’s ceremonies and climb, many participants remembered not only those who died on 9/11, but all those who have died while serving their communities as firefighters and police officers. The funds raised by the event will benefit Texas Line of Duty Death Task Force, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, Dallas Metroplex Concerns of Police Survivors and the Twin Towers Orphan Fund.
At the halfway mark, Michael Cozad, a firefighter with DFW International Airport Fire Services, waited on the 54th floor with his crew until they were able to take the elevator down and begin their second climb.
“I still remember 9/11 like it was yesterday,” Cozad said. “The events leading up to 9/11 and what caused 9/11 were extremely tragic. But the way the country rallied and came together, and neighbors helping neighbors, helped.
“It is an honor and a pleasure to come out and remember the fallen brothers and sisters who have gone before us. It’s all the tradition and everything. It’s a lot of fun.”
Following the climb, Aaron Smith, Battalion Chief for DFW International Airport Fire Services, rested with his crew at the top of Renaissance Tower.