On Sunday September 11th fire and emergency workers gathered to commemorate the events of September 11, 2001 and to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice on that fateful day. As part of a regional ceremony, personnel from Blue Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Botetourt County Emergency Services, and Troutville Volunteer Fire Department attended the ceremony on the streets of downtown Roanoke. Personnel were on hand to display apparatus, as well as to participate in the ceremony honoring the brave men and women that laid their lives down that historic day as well as to recognize those who serve today. Dignitaries attending the event included Secretary of Public Safety-Marla Decker, and Congressman Bob Goodlatte.
In recent weeks firefighters all across the country have been participating in memorial stair climbs in honor of their fallen comrades from the attacks of September 11, 2001. On Sunday September 11th, local firefighters Jeff Elmore and Jacob Newton from Botetourt County Emergency Services traveled to Richmond to participate in the event. Climbing beside firefighters from across Virginia and the east coast, Jacob and Jeff ascended and descended the steps of a 20 story building 5 times to emulate the 100 stories that faced the emergency workers as they tried to evacuate the twin towers. Each participant was representing something more than just the physical challenges faced by heroic responders who ran in while others ran out on that tragic day; each climbed in honor of a specific hero who perished in the trade centers, leaving behind families, friends coworkers and a grateful nation.
At the conclusion of the climb, each firefighter rang a ceremonial bell and announced the name of the comrade whose life their brief exertion commemorated. Jacob and Jeff completed their climb while wearing forty-plus pounds of protective equipment and tools, just as those who were lost in the towers that fateful morning.
Submitted by Jason Ferguson