On the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Americans mourned and remembered the tragedy in their own personal ways. One firefighter didn’t plan on his way of remembering to be as public as it became.
The firefighter asked a Planet Fitness employee if he could climb stairs in full gear. He was allowed, and an employee snapped a photo of him that soon went viral.
He chose to climb 110 steps in order to mirror the 110 floors of each World Trade Center tower. He also made it clear that he wanted to remember the first responders who sacrificed their lives working to save others that day.
15 Years Ago
It is hard to believe that the Sept. 11 attacks occurred 15 years ago. On that day in 2001, 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists conducted a coordinated terror attack that involved four hijacked planes. Two were crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, one was flown into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and another, due to passengers diverting its path, crashed into a Pennsylvania field.
The Twin Towers ultimately collapsed about an hour after being hit initially, causing Manhattan to fall into a complete state of emergency. Around 3000 lives were lost that day, including those from over 90 countries.
15 Years Later
The response to the Sept. 11 attacks caused a complete changed in the course of American history. Much like the attack on Pearl Harbor, little was the same after the attacks. The United States launched the War on Terrorism, the effects of which are felt today. Debate still continues about continuing the war and whether it has accomplished its goals.
Additionally, the site of the Twin Towers has been restored to house a deeply moving memorial for the victims of the attacks and their families. There is also a museum chronicling the events of that day. Recovered objects from the scene are also on display. The museum serves as both a memorial to the victims as well as a learning opportunity for those who were not born at the time of the attacks or were too young to understand.
A United Country
Despite the debate surrounding the attacks, Sept. 11 represents a point of unity for the United States. The people of New York City set an example that day for unity, helping each other stay safe. Each year, Americans share stories of where they were and what they remember about that day. These shared stories foster the unity that was present on Sept. 11, 2001.
When firefighter Harding climbed those stairs at Planet Fitness, he wanted simply to remember those first responders who gave the ultimate sacrifice that day. Instead, he was encouraged and supported by many Americans around the country. His simple act reminded many that our individual acts of remembrance are just as important as large-scale organized events.
Harding reminded us of the dedication first responders like himself must bring to their jobs, as well as the feeling of fraternity he and other first responders across America felt that day 15 years ago.
As the country remembered the Sept.11 terror attacks, we remember that everyone has a story to tell connected to those events. Firefighter Harding showed us that even small, personal acts of remembrance are a worthy tribute to those who lost their lives.