As we embark upon the 14th anniversary of one of the most emotional days in history it still feels incredibly fresh as I look back. My memories are vivid from that day the Twin Towers fell to the ground in New York City and I will never ever forget the heartbreak in the days, weeks, months and even years that followed. My dad was actually in NYC on business on 9/11/01 and it took him almost 12 hours to get through to let us know he was okay and 3 days of driving to finally make it back home. The helpless feeling was overwhelming. No matter what your connection is to that day we were sucker punched by the individuals out to hurt our country, I think we can all agree upon the emotions felt. Bitterness, resentment, shock, disbelief..so much sadness.
The anniversary of this day brings those feelings flooding to the surface, once again.
September 11, 2001, was the deadliest day in history for New York City firefighters: 343 were killed.
Last year Jordan was privileged enough to climb for the lost heroes of that day and again paid tribute in the Dallas 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb for a second year.
It is not a race, but rather a tribute honoring the sacrifices of fallen heroes – fulfilling a promise to “NEVER FORGET” their brothers and sisters who have died in the line of duty that day. Slots for the event are open to 343 firefighters, 70 law enforcement officers and 9 EMTs (the number of firefighters/law enforcement/EMTs that were killed at Ground Zero with the collapse of the Twin Towers) and those 400+ service men and women climb 110 floors (the height of the former World Trade Center Twin Towers).
Last weekend we loaded the truck up, once again, bright and early with our three baby girls in tow. When we arrived, the familiar scene of participants reminded me of the emotions that I felt last year at the climb. They were all here for the same reasons. To make the 110 story climb for their fallen brothers and sisters. I am always, always, always in awe of what my husband does for a living. I often forget what his job actually entails on a daily basis and when I can get Jordan on the phone while he’s on shift its usually filled with life-saving stories of his day.
Sometimes he runs into burning buildings.
Sometimes he saves a man from a heart attack.
..and sometimes he helps an elderly woman fill her prescriptions at Walmart.
All in a day’s work. This guy is my hero. He is today. He was yesterday. And will be again tomorrow.
I know his girls feel the same. Seeing their daddy in his uniform brings joy across their face and flickers pride into their baby eyes that I can’t actually describe it into words..they see/hear a fire truck or ambulance and yell ‘daddy’s truck!!‘. This guy is their hero. He is today. He was yesterday. And will be again tomorrow.
Jordan climbed alongside his fellow brothers in the field.
He also climbed stair by stair with his best friend. His Dad.
Last year Papa was recovering from a fall resulting in a broken back, fractured ribs, and a torn rotator cuff… but still completed the 110 flights.
This year he was in much better shape and ready mentally and physically for the climb!
Each climber has a hero assigned to them to make the climb for. Jordan climbed for Steven Olson of Ladder 3.
Reading about Mr. Olson’s life before 9/11 he carries so many similarities to Jordan.
He was an amazing family man and a ‘girl dad’, too.
The pre-climb ceremony is always emotional for everyone.
Tears are falling as a moment of silence is held exactly at 8:46am (the very moments the first tower was struck)
It was time for our boys to make their way to start their ascent to the top of the Renaissance Tower. We said our goodbyes and wished them good luck because the next few hours were going to take some endurance and strength to complete.Papa and BB admiring their grand-baby number 5.
Daddy and his first girls.
Baker is never shy with her smiles- sweet girl was giving all of them away to her BB!
Dadda hugs + sugars!
The Renaissance Tower in downtown Dallas. This building is 55 stories. The Twin Towers were double at 110 – if that gives you any perspective on the trials of the climb carrying 60 + pounds of protective gear and tools that day in 2001.
The climbers climb the 55 stories, take the elevator down to the bottom, and do it all over again.
As the men and women walk into the tower to climb, they ran their hands along a piece of rubble taken from Ground Zero on September 11, 2001.
After watching Jordan and Roy walk into the building form afar (there were so many people), we raced to see if we could meet them as they stepped into the stairwell.
Just before they walked in!
..and back down to the monitors set up on the street where we could watch the climb in real time.
It is amazing how much has changed in just one year. Their understanding of what Dadda and Papa were doing was real. Parker and Jolie watched and waited so intently for me to show them when I could see their daddy’s coat on the television monitor.
Inside the stairwell.
Jordan and Roy would set mini goals for themselves and climb so many flights and then take a short breather- breaking up the climb into smaller portions in hopes to make it a bit easier. As they climbed, the events of the day in 2011 were played out via new castings shared on 9/11 fourteen years ago. The moment that each tower fell (9:59am + 10:28am) firefighters in the stairs activated their PASS devices (distress alarms on their air packs) to commemorate.
We could hear these alarms on the streets below.
At the top!! They were finished and so proud.
We were all so proud!
It was a long morning for us playing the waiting game. Waiting for texts to tell me what floor they had made it to and progress of their climb. It gives me chills to think about the final phone calls and texts to family member of those servicemen and women that lost their lives that day.
I am blessed to have my firefighter return after his climb.
As he walked out of the building drenched in sweat and completely exhausted I couldn’t help but have a lump swell in my throat as I thought over the true symbolization of the day’s events.
Looking back at last year’s post about the climb.. I couldn’t have put my thoughts about my firefighter into better words:
I often forget the gravity of my husbands job. What is expected of him. What he is held accountable for. Responsibilities, ideas, and respect for his line of work. He’s run into burning buildings more times than he can count. Been on the front end of the nozzle fighting the heat away from his melting face-mask, been on the back of the truck controlling the water feed to the guys fighting inside, drives the ambulance (he’s also a medic), commands fire scenes, runs accident triage..and yes, has rescued a cat or two from a tree.
This job isn’t a 9-5, but its his dream.
He was born to lead. Born to serve.
..and serve is exactly what he did. He climbed proudly because they climbed.