PROVO, Utah — Locals gathered at LaVell Edwards Stadium to climb 2,071 steps on Sept. 10 to honor first responders who lost their lives in the tragic 9/11 attacks.
The annual Tower Climb, hosted by BYU Athletics, allows individuals to climb what is equivalent to the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. Participants climbed 2,071 steps throughout the stadium. Piano renditions of patriotic songs filled the stadium and the screens displayed pictures of those who had lost their lives.
Participants included students, community members, firefighters, EMS, ROTC groups, young children and senior citizens.
American Fork firefighter Logan Geier did the climb fully dressed in his firefighting gear. “Our brothers did it in a sense and they paid the ultimate sacrifice, so I think this is one thing we can do to remember them,” Geier said.
Fellow firefighter Jonah Burton also did the climb in his gear. “This is a thing for our own selves saying that we can do it too, you know,” Burton said. “We can be in those shoes and be able to do it.”
Chat Ficklin made it her goal to run the entire 2,071 steps. When the 9/11 attacks happened, Ficklin was on an Air Force base in Hawaii while her husband was on active duty. Her job was to run and deliver newspapers across the base and on the morning of the attack, she was up early watching TV while folding newspapers.
“It was like four o’clock in the morning at the time and I was like, ‘What am I watching?’ I wasn’t sure,” Ficklin said. “Then when the second tower was hit, I was like ‘I think I better go wake my husband up’.”
Maria and Dolores Paspuel also participated in the climb. When asked why they chose to participate in this event, Maria simply pointed to a little tag on her shirt with the picture and name of a first responder who had lost their life during the 9/11 attacks. Each participant was given a similar tag to carry with them during the climb.
Several BYU sports teams also participated in the climb and the BYU Cheer Squad stood at the side directing and encouraging the participants as they walked the steps.
Carson Williams was one of the first to finish the climb and described it as an emotional experience. Williams, a history student, expressed his passion towards the U.S.
“I don’t know, I cried a lot. Not because of anything I felt in my body, but just like my heart,” Williams said. “Just because of who I am representing.”