GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Twenty years ago on Saturday, close to 3,000 people died when the World Trade Center was attacked in New York City.
Local firefighters Jon Snyder, Lance Korhorn and David Van Slooten said it’s a day they’ll never forget.
“It was such a pivotal thing in the history of this country," Van Slooten, a firefighter with Muskegon Local 370, said. "I mean, everybody who was around at that time remembers where they were when this event happened. "Then to see not only just what happened as far as the lives lost but also just the rescue operation in and of itself. It was an incredible time of tragedy but also unity in this country.”
This Saturday, Sept. 11, over 250 people, including dozens of firefighters, will be honoring the first responders who died on that day during the annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at LMCU Ballpark.
“When I'm doing this climb I think a lot about that day, 9/11, you know, and the events that took place,” Snyder, a firefighter with Cascade Township, said. “I think about the sacrifices made. I think about the families and I think a lot about the importance of continuing to do this year after year to remember those that lost their lives.”
According to the press release from the Whitecaps, who call LMCU Ballpark home, the participants will climb 110 steps that mirror the 110-floor climb that the men and women did that day in the World Trade Center.
Snyder said many of the firefighters will also be wearing name tags with a name of one of the first responders or firefighters who died that day. Some will also be carrying fire equipment as they climb.
“It's the fourth lap you're starting to get pretty winded and you know, legs and ankles, your calves are burning pretty good stepping up that many flights,” Korhorn, a firefighter with Cascade Township as well, said. “So, it's a workout for sure.”
However, they push through by thinking of the sacrifice the men and women made that day 20 years ago.
“It may not be the funnest thing in the world but you remember why you're doing it,” Van Slooten said. “When you accomplish it, like any sort of event like that, when you accomplish it at the end of it, it's pretty satisfying.”