MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - Local firefighters hiked the Manitou Incline in full gear to pay tribute to 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bob Falcone and Shane Harmon from Pueblo's city fire department organized the trip. They said it was the closest thing locally to emulating the trek New York Firefighters made up the twin tours to help rescue people trapped in the burning buildings.
The group's pace during the 1-mile climb mirrored the pace of the NYFD firefighters as they climbed thousands of stairs in the World Trade Center buildings.
"It's tough. It's tough. They had it even worse. They were carrying their airpack, they were carrying tools, they were carrying hoses," said Falcone, remembering last year's trip. "Even though we are making this effort, it still doesn't equal what the FDNY firefighters were doing."
"It's a little challenging. I have to admit you definitely want to be done when you get to the top and then you got to come back down but it's worth it. It's worth it," said Harmon.
Firefighters started at 8:46 a.m. when the plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center. It took the group 90 minutes to reach the top of the incline.
"It gives you some time to think about what they're doing and gives you some pride and installs more pride in what you do," said Harmon.
Falcone and Harmon will always remember the number 343. Falcone said the 343 firefighters who lost their lives did not die in vain; they helped thousands escape the burning buildings.
"All though we know every day what the risks are that we may have to take and the danger we have to put ourselves in, that was way above and beyond," said Falcone. "You have to wonder if some of those firefighters knew going in that they weren't going to go home."