Firefighters honor fallen with 9/11 incline climb in Manitou Springs

Published: Sep. 11, 2021 at 10:42 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) -Every year on 9/11, a group of firefighters and first responders gather in Manitou to climb the incline in their full gear. They do this to honor and remember the 343 firefighters who lost their lives at the World Trade Center.

This is the 6th time they have done this. Over 100 first responders from all over the country came out to participate.

“Just knowing that it could’ve been any one of us, just drives it home even more,” said RJ Gerry, Assistant Chief at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.

The incline is over 2,700 steps and nearly one mile long with a 2,000 elevation gain. It’s a difficult, but important climb.

“It represents hope. It represents compassion and remembrance. And dedication and a lifetime of giving and selflessness that all these responders, emergency responders and caregivers give out there on a daily basis,” said Dion Bullock, with the Peterson Fire Department.

Many remember exactly where they were on September 11th, 2001.

“I remember on that day, at the time I was stationed out of Edwards Air Force Base in California....To see it, it was really a gut punch. And to see something so tragic happening and so horrific happening,” said Bullock.

“I remember watching the TV, I remember seeing that this was bad...I remember saying that I want to contribute and help this nation rebuild after what happened,” said Gerry.

These firefighters know what it means to take on the task.

“It’s courage. It’s the willingness to help others in need, that’s our job. We are there to help you,” said Gerry.

Even if it means laying down their lives for those who need them, like the heroes they climb for did.

The firefighters say no matter how many years have gone by, 20 years later the pain still remains the same. As does the importance of making sure the community remembers what happened on September 11th, 2001.

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