9/11 Memorial Stair Run honors memory of those lost 21 years ago
On a rainy Saturday morning in Tennessee Tech University’s Tucker Stadium, the day before the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, members of the university’s Army ROTC Golden Eagle Battalion gathered with members of the campus community to honor the lives lost that day.
“I personally do this event to honor the men and women who paid the sacrifice,” said John Dowd, operations officer for Tech’s ROTC program. “This small amount of sacrifice of us being out here in the rain climbing 110 flights of stairs, pales in comparison to what they did on 9/11, but it is something that we can give back to them in honor and remembrance of them.”
As they climbed the 2,071 steps, representing the number of steps that fire fighters and first responders climbed in efforts to save lives that day, members of the Golden Eagle Battalion wore 45-pound backpacks to simulate the firefighters' gear as they climbed up the World Trade Center that fateful day.
“Obviously this is a very special occasion,” said Tech President Phil Oldham, speaking to cadets at the event. “For those of us old enough to remember, it’s one of those moments in your life that stands out. You know where you were at the time, you never forget it. It really represents, in many ways, the worst day that you could imagine, but also the response to 9/11 was like the most inspirational that you could think of. How our country and many of our predecessors responded to that occasion is truly remarkable. To honor it this way is really important.”
The annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Run at Tucker Stadium on was one of several activities during Saturday's home opener game day for the Golden Eagle football team, dedicated to the memory of the lost, while also recognizing military members, first responders and health care workers.