MIAMISBURG, Ohio (WDTN) — The football stadium at Miamisburg High School will be filled Friday morning, September 9, as hundreds of people come together for the 2nd annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb.
The goal is to honor those whose lives were forever changed by the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, as well as offer some perspective to students who were not yet born when the attacks happened.
“Many of them don’t understand the significance and the impact that event had on the lives of literally everybody,” said social studies teacher and co-organizer of the stair climb, Katie Lay. “They understand that some people died and some gave the ultimate sacrifice. But they don’t understand what they went through that day.”
343 New York City Fire Department first responders died at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, trying to climb the 110 flights of stairs to rescue those trapped inside the World Trade Center.
It’s a fact that Miamisburg teachers like Lay, and co-organizer Siobhan Tirado, want to make sure is not lost on today’s students. That’s why Tirado began having her students climb stairs on 9/11 more than a decade ago.
“I began this activity many years ago as a way for my students to viscerally feel just a little bit of what it might have felt for those trapped in towers and what first responders experienced that day,” said Tirado.
Many of us remember watching the tragic events of 9/11 unfold on television. But these days, even some teachers aren’t old enough to hold those memories themselves.
“At some point, I realized that none of the students that I now teach were even alive when 9/11 happened,” Tirado said. “What started as a small class event and reflection with the help of my colleague, morphed last year into over 600 students, teachers, administrators, first responders and recruiters doing a 20-minute stair climb at our stadium to honor those fallen first responders who died on 9/11.”
The climb has given the anniversary of the attacks new meaning for students, like senior Saydi Hernandez.
“I think they should really take the opportunity and do it,” Hernandez said. “Just to kind of get a perspective for what everyone went through and what a hard day that was for everybody.”
For first responders, seeing those steps climbed by hundreds of people is a reminder that we will never forget the sacrifice they’re willing to make every day.
“It’s emotional to watch them out there,” said School Resource Officer Ryan Copsey. “Most of them– if not all of them– if my math is right, were not even born. But to see them out there supporting… it was a good thing to see.”
“It is both moving and inspiring to see our community come together to participate in such an important learning experience,” Tirado said.
The event is not yet open to the public, although that is a goal for the future.
However, all first responders are welcome to attend and participate.
If you are a first responder and would like to join the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, just reach out to organizer Katie Lay by calling Miamisburg High School by calling 937-866-0771 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event will be held at the Miamisburg High School football stadium, right behind Miamisburg High School, on Friday, September 9.
Visiting first responders should arrive at 8 a.m. and the stair climb will start at 8:30 a.m.