Today I had the honor to participate in a local memorial event to recognize 9/11/2001. This was the fifth year for the event in which participants climb 2,071 stairs within Nippert Statium at The University of Cincinnati. This number symbolizes the stairs of the 110 floors each of the World Trade Center towers had. The amount of time to complete the event is 56 minutes. This was my first time attending the event and I must say, I was awestruck.
The number of people that attended the event was amazing. The event started at 6:34 this morning, I arrived around 5:30 and met with a local group that were going to ruck the stairs rather than simply running / walking. We each carried a pack, ruck sack, with us with a 30 lb weight plate. The goal was to complete the 4 laps that the event required.
As I was going through the repetitions up and down the stairs, they were making announcements of the events that transpired on that day in history, and the names of those that lost their lives scrolled across an electronic screen I began to recount where I was on that day. I was actually on that exact campus just a few hundred yards away. I walked right through that stadium on 9/11 to go to class.
The stairs began to wear on me quickly and I was only halfway through my first lap. Then I saw a group of young ROTC students with Xavier University’s Air Force ROTC program. That picked my hopes up for a bit and I went on. The harder it got for me the more details I remembered about that day. The more flights I did the more I thought about those that lost their lives, seeing the names I began to take a step for each one just to push on to the next. At the end of the time I did not complete the 4 laps needed to commemorate the total number of stairs. I did complete two full laps of stairs knowing that after that event was done I still get to go home and hug my family.
This day is always going to be a day of remembrance in my family. Today, I was lucky enough to commemorate it among some amazing veterans, active duty, and future military and first responders.