(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) On September 11, 2001, 343 firefighters lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center. Today, one fire instructor is teaching her students who were all born after 9/11, a real life lesson in what those brave men and women did that day.
"It's a history lesson for them. It's a lesson for them to understand the brotherhood of the fire service and what they are going into."
Angie Jones was a Maryville firefighter on September 11, 2001. She's now the fire science instructor at Hillyard Technical Center. For the last seven years on the anniversary, she has her students honor the lives of 343 firefighters who didn't come home that day by attempting to climb they equivalent of the 110 stories they climbed.
"It is a lot of the reason why the fire department does the things that they do now compared to what we did before 9/11," Jones said. "There's been a lot of changes since then and a lot of encouragement. It really drives them and pushes them into wanting to succeed."
During the challenging task, Jones motivated her students by telling them the story and facts behind that horrible day. For Maysville senior, Tyler Sterling who grew up in a post 9/11 world with family members who are first responders, the experience was surreal one.
"It's pretty unbelievable they were able to do that. It astonishes me they could have done that and in the time that it took," Sterling said. "They put all their effort into it. They risked their lives pushing through like that head on."
Jones even had past students, like volunteer firefighter Cayden Carter, participate in the event for a second time. After only doing 57 stories last year, he accomplished the full 110 on Wednesday. He told me he didn't do it for himself. He did it for his 343 lost brothers and sisters.
"They went in knowing they weren't coming out. They knew what they were getting themselves into," Carter said."They sacrificed themselves. I'm proud to call them my brothers and sisters."
They may be a group of teenagers now, but these young men will be our future heroes with a new found respect of what they can do.
"I can't say I've been in their shoes because I didn't experience the chaos," Sterling said. "But that 110 flights made this more of a significant day of the year for me."
"I ask to you. Always remember. Never forget," Carter said.
Jones says she will continue to do this stair climb every 9-11 anniversary to help keep those memories fresh for our next generation.
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