Firefighters participate in memorial stair climb

Starkville Fire Department’s Lt. Brian Arnett participates in a memorial stair climb to honor the 343 firefighters who lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks at Starkville High School. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

Sept.11, 2001. A day where terrorists killed 2,996 people and injured over 6,000 others in New York City after two planes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Centers.

The terrorist attack was reported to be the single-deadliest incident for firefighters in United States history with 343 firefighters killed in action. Additionally, 72 police officers were also killed in action.
In remembrance, and to honor the deaths of these first responders, firefighters and police officers participate in memorial stair climbs on each anniversary of this tragedy.

Participating every year since the attack, Starkville Fire Department Lt. Brian Arnett suits up in his uniform and climbs a total of 1,980 steps. The number signifies the exact amount of steps in the World Trade Center where first responders climbed in an attempt to save the lives of those trapped in the towers.

“We always have someone, somewhere doing that,” Arnett said.

Members from the Starkville Fire Department participate in a stair climb every year whether they are on duty or not. Some firefighters participate in climbs located across the nation, but today Arnett did his climb at Starkville High School.

Some firefighters did their climb at Davis Wade Stadium.

As the years pass, Arnett said the significance of this day seems to be getting lost. He said some flags aren’t at half-mast and by doing this every year it is a way for people in the community to not forget the importance of this event.

“Sixteen years later, unfortunately if you look around, I think some people have forgotten what actually happened to our country,” Arnett said.

Arnett said the memorial climb is a way for him to personally say thank you and to honor the lives they lived and hopefully carry on a tradition to make them proud as a firefighter.

“It’s not meant to be a celebration of me or a celebration of firefighters at all, it’s just meant to be a way of honoring the memory of people who have lost their lives doing something they loved and they believed in,” Arnett said.