DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dozens in the Miami Valley visited University of Dayton Arena on Saturday to remember the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Saturday, Sept. 9 was the ninth annual Gem City 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. Participants had the ability to climb 110 flights of stairs to honor the 343 firefighters who died trying to save lives that day.
Dave Collins has been climbing the stairs for several years now.
“It’s trying to always remember September 11th and particularly the firefighters who went up while the buildings were already starting to come down,” Collins said. “All I do is think about them on this day.”
Climb Coordinator Colin Altman said as time has gone on, and some memories of 9/11 have began to fade. Even though participation in the climb has waned, Altman says that’s what makes every flight of stairs still climbed even more important.
“These 343 firefighters and 74 police officers and everyone else who perished that day gave their lives in service of our country and our communities, and we need to remember that and honor that every day,” Altman said.
Along with climbing the stairs, the participants were raising money for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
“Who supports not only the families of the FDNY, Firefighters who were murdered on 9/11, but firefighters from across the country,” Altman said.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation helped the family of Lt. Clay Westfall, a Harrison Township firefighter who passed away from occupational cancer in 2020.
“We’re just very appreciative of their support,” Clay Westfall’s wife Cindi Westfall said.
His son, Sam Westfall, said his climb is just as much for those who lost their lives on 9/11 as it is for his dad.
“It’s a really big honor and it’s like big shoes to fill in, but I feel like that’s something I can hold up to and it’s going to be a really awesome experience for me,” Sam Westfall said.
To learn more about the climb, click here.