Two Uvalde firefighters in turnout gear, which typically weighs over 50 pounds, climbed 952 stairs twice on Sept. 11 in San Antonio to honor those who died 22 years ago at the World Trade Center.
Brothers and Uvalde firefighters Manza Hale III and Tristan Hale were accompanied by Manza’s fiancée, Kenna Arthur, and registered nurses Brooke Kolacek, Amanda Shoemake and Cassandra Atwood.
The six Uvalde County residents were among more than 500 people who participated in the the San Antonio 110 9/11 Memorial Climb held at the Tower of the Americas.
Those who sign up are asked to ascend the 65 flights of stairs twice, to equal – and exceed – the 110 flights of the World Trade Center tower.
“This is my fifth year climbing and my brother’s fourth,” Manza said, adding that they look forward to going every year.
“The thing that keeps us going back is to honor the lives that were lost on that day. The climb is tough and on the second time up is when you really have to push yourself. But we just remember that on that day those firemen climbed with no hesitation, so we are climbing in honor of them.”
For more than a decade at various locations, Uvalde firefighters have climbed to honor the lives of 343 firefighters, 70 law enforcement officers and nine emergency medical service personnel who died in New York on Sept. 11, 2001.
Many first responders climb in full turnout gear, which for a firefighter can mean wearing about 50 to 100 pounds of equipment during the climb. Wearing full gear is not required.
San Antonio event
The San Antonio 110 9/11 Memorial Climb had a 6 a.m. check-in, and the event starts around 8 a.m. with an opening ceremony.
At 8:46 a.m. a bell tolls and a moment of silence is observed in memory of the first tower being struck.
Firefighters then begin to climb, followed by other first responders and then members of the public who are climbing.
They are assigned a tag bearing the name and picture of a fallen public servant they represent, which they carry as they climb.
“On Sept, 11, 2001, firefighters entered into the 110 story structures of the World Trade Center Twin Towers and climbed. They did so, courageously, to save as many victims of the 9/11 attacks as possible. And along the way these brave heroes lost their lives,” reads text on the San Antonio 110 9/11 Memorial Climb website.
“Every year on Sept. 11th we hold the San Antonio 110 9/11 Memorial Climb to honor the 343 firefighters lost that day. … Additional tributes are also made to our LEO and EMS fallen brethren.”