(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Stair climbs have become a ritual that’s been embraced by firefighters for the past 20 years, climbing the more than 2,000 steps New York City firefighters did inside the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
St. Joseph firefighters and other departments across Northwest Missouri have joined firefighters in Kansas City for their stair climb over the years, this year it was canceled due to increased Covid-19 numbers.
The traditional stair climb is regularly held the Sunday following the 11th.
St. Joseph firefighter Billy Seibel said he just couldn’t let the pandemic stop the traditional climb especially this year.
"The firefighters were marching up as people were coming down," Seibel said. "Obviously, it was a big impact on me then and it still is every year now."
Seibel added that the anniversary compelled him to keep the tradition going this year.
Sunday morning, he got 13 firefighters from St. Joe and, three from Savannah to the bleachers at Central High School to continue the climb.
They climbed the bleachers 39 times in full gear.
The events of 9/11 shaped many lives, St. Joseph firefighter Skyler White said he made the decision to become a firefighter because of what happened that day.
"Immediately, I signed out and went and found a fire academy," He said.
Firefighters say it’s something that simply must be remembered, every year.
"We promised that day that we wouldn’t forget, and as firefighters we’re definitely not going to forget." White said. "We’re still going to honor them while we’re on duty off duty somehow someway."
SJFD firefighters hope to hold future stair climbs in St. Joseph.