MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Monday marks the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, where nearly 3,000 people lost their lives.
The Midland Fire Department honored the 411 first responders who lost their lives with a memorial stair climb. They said it's a time many of them won't ever forget.
"When I walked out of that elevator, after climbing all of it, I was so tired. All I kept thinking is if they can do it, I can do it," said Desi Ripple, a Midland College Fire Academy student. "I want to do this because it takes a special kind of person to do this. It's someone with a purpose."
First responders walked up the Wilco Building carrying gear on a building with 22 floors. That wasn't all, they climbed a total of five times equaling 110 floors. Each wore a lanyard with the name of a first responder who took a risk on Sept. 11.
"It kind of tugs on the heart a little bit. Gives you some chills," said Midland Fire Department Engineer Victor Macias. "I climbed for Bruce Gary. He didn't know what he was going through. He was just going to work to do his job. Hopefully my wife doesn't have to go through what other families had to go through."
This year's memorial stair climb was bigger, even Odessa firefighters joined in.
"This is something we do for the brothers in New York," said Esai Romo with Odessa Fire and Rescue. "I have the same feeling each year. A humble feeling, whoever you climb for each year, you climb in honor of him."
"It's unimaginable, we couldn't possibly think how they were feeling," said OFD cadet Joe Espinoza. "They had a duty to do and they just kept pulling through. They weren't thinking about the consequences and just tried to help everyone they could."
After the walk, each tag with the name of a first responder was placed on the wall by each who climbed. A bell rings after each name, a ring to remember the firefighter's last call. Each call is a moment that even 16 years later, first responders today will never forget.