On the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, 9 Ormond Beach firefighters climbed 110 flights of stairs in memory of the 343 firefighters and 2,996 people who died that day in 2001.
The local firefighters were joined by two other firefighters from Orange County at the Marina Grande condominiums in Daytona Beach to complete the 343 challenge, which consisted of four rounds of going up to the building's 25th floor, and back down, plus a fifth round of 10 flights — All while wearing about 40-50 pounds of gear, and carrying a slip of paper with the names and faces of firefighters who died that day.
This year's remembrance event was organized by Ormond Beach Firefighter Hunter Ramirez, who said local firefighters try to complete the challenge annually. As they years go by, people tend to forget about what happened on 9/11, Ramirez said. Nowadays, some of the younger people weren't alive back then.
“We try to remember them as best we can," Ramirez said. "It’s the least we can do.”
As a firefighter, 9/11 is a reminder that you never know when you'll have to make the ultimate sacrifice, Ramirez said.
“It’s a terrible, terrible day that shows why firefighters always have to be ready for anything," Ramirez said. "It’s in our job. Those men and women who went toward that building knew that they may not be coming back.”
This story was updated at 5:28 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, to correct the number of Ormond Beach firefighters who participated. A previous version of this story reported 10; the number was actually 9, bringing the total number of firefighters who participated to 11.