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Local firefighters remember 9/11 at Red Rocks

Fire personnel participated in the stair climb, dressed in full turnouts and gear.

Castle Pines residents Lisa Voss and Laura Zeh join the many at Red Rocks Amphitheater for the annual 9/11 climb.

By Lynne Marsala Basche; photos courtesy of Laura Zeh and South Metro Fire Rescue firefighter David Freyta

Everyone recalls where they were and what they were doing the morning our nation changed forever; September 11, 2001.  The day is now an opportunity to reflect and remember the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives.  While countless people across the nation marked the 14th anniversary of the occasion in various ways, approximately 1,800 individuals took part in the annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Red Rocks.

First responders and the public participated in the Red Rocks climb, which has become the largest stair climb in the United States.  The day began with a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., which was the time the first plane hit the north tower.  Speeches followed at 9:02 a.m., which was when the south tower was hit.  The Colorado Emerald Society Pipes and Drum Band played “Amazing Grace,” and following the stirring tribute, the climb began.

Participants, including Castle Pines residents  Lisa Voss and Laura Zeh, climbed the route created to equal 110 stories; the height of the World Trade Center’s twin towers.  “The real gift in participating at the 9/11 Red Rocks climb every year is the connection with self and others,” said Voss, “Humanity, love and respect are abundant.”

Firefighters from all over the South Metro area wearing full gear also climbed to honor those who sacrificed their lives on September 11, as well as to help support the families who survived them.  All money raised from the climb goes to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF).  NFFF provides counseling services to friends, families and co-workers of the fallen New York Fire Department firefighters, as well as to the firefighters that survived the tragedy.

“This is something that we do every year to remember the fallen firefighters that we lost on that day, and the firefighters that we continue to lose due to the dust that they were searching through after the towers collapsed.  It’s hard enough for a family member to explain this to one of their young children, let alone a firefighter to explain it to one of their kids.  So for us to get together, remember what happened that day, and raise some money and pass on what happened is huge,” said South Metro Fire Rescue firefighter David Freyta from station #44 in Parker.

Zeh was inspired by the first responders and noted, “The humility displayed by our firefighters is remarkable.  They are so generous with their gratitude for the community’s support of this event when, in fact, the entire Denver community is grateful every single day for the safety and protection ensured us by these brave and selfless men and women.”

With each step, the people and events of September 11 were honored as individuals came together in the magnificent setting of Red Rocks.  Next year, on the 15th anniversary of the tragedy, participation is expected to increase.  We will never forget.



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