A firefighter participates in the 9/11 Tower Climb at LaVell Edwards Stadium. (Veronica Maciel)

More than 1,000 participate in BYU Tower Climb to honor 20th anniversary of 9/11

It was an early and wet morning as more than 1,000 participants waited in line outside LaVell Edwards Stadium to pay tribute to the fallen heroes of 9/11. There were families, infants, college students, active first responders, veterans and other community members that came out wearing gear and uniforms, while others wore comfortable exercise attire.

As the sun began to peek through the clouds and over the mountains, participants hiked 2,071 steps in the bleachers, equivalent to the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. Each participant received a T-shirt, a specialized coin and a badge that represented one of the first responders killed in the 9/11 attacks. The badge showed a first responder’s name and a picture as participants symbolically retraced their courageous steps. 

“We have to make a conscious effort to remember. Like this morning, I set alarms on my phone for when the North Tower, South Tower and Pentagon were hit, so this morning at 8:03 a.m. I was reminded of what happened 20 years ago today,” participant Caitlin Steele said.

“This is a great idea of what they did to put into perspective how hard it was that day. You don’t think about how many steps it is until you’re actually doing it.”

Not only were participants geared up, but the stadium itself displayed forms of respect on this National Day of Service. In the south end zone, the American flag was displayed as a token of patriotism. Along with the badges hikers wore, the video board on the north end showcased all of the victims who lost their lives, particularly the 343 firefighters and 71 law enforcement personnel.

“This is not a race or timed event, but an opportunity for the community to reflect on the events of 9/11 and honor those who selflessly gave their lives,” BYU Associate Athletic Director Chad Lewis said.

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