MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - On the 18-year anniversary of 9/11, firefighters from the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Fire Department and the Manitou Springs Fire Department climbed the Manitou Incline to honor the brave first responders who risked their lives to help save those trapped in the twin towers.
At nearly 3,000 steps, the incline closely emulates the 110 flights of stairs the first responders had to climb during the terror attack.
"It's all in honor of the 343 fallen firefighters and the 2977 total that died this day 18 years ago," said Tech Sgt. RJ Gerry with the Cheyenne Mountain Firefighters.
And they do it all with 60 pounds of firefighting gear on their backs.
For several firefighters climbing Wednesday, this hits close to home.
"I lived in New York City when the towers were hit," said volunteer Manitou Springs Firefighter Don Geode. "I lived in a place called Redhook, Brooklyn and my entire neighborhood was bombarded with artifacts, burned pieces of paper, the grey rubble that we're all familiar with."
Tech Sgt. Gerry added, "I knew a couple of guys that passed away on 9/11 as FDNY firefighters. So [it] hits me a little bit harder."
Although it was a tough climb physically, it was an even tougher one mentally as firefighters kept their fallen brothers and sisters in their hearts.