Close to 400 firefighters, police officers and their family members waited Tuesday morning in a vacant retail space on the first floor of downtown Sacramento's Renaissance Building. In a few minutes, 343 firefighters would begin a 110-story climb to honor their fallen New York counterparts who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks 11 years ago.
Last year, for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, firefighters came from Los Angeles and San Diego to make the climb, said coordinator Capt. Eric Guida of the Sacramento Fire Department. He said he made the climb for the first event four years ago but has transitioned to planning it since then.
Tuesday, the firefighters from Sacramento, Woodland, El Dorado, San Jose and more were present.
Clipped onto each climber's jacket was a deceased firefighter's name, each representing one of the 343 who died on 9/11.
At the end of the climb, each firefighter added the name to a memorial and rang a bell.
Before the ascent, a marching crew of eight equipped with drums and bagpipes walked through the crowd creating a center aisle.
At the end of the aisle stood guest speaker Capt. Mike Dugan of the New York Fire Department who responded to the Sept. 11 attacks. Dugan thanked the volunteers for their compassion and honor.
Lining up for the hour and a half task, firefighters were visited by their wives and children who wished them good luck.
To complete 110 stories, firefighters must climb 26 stories three times over and then climb all the way to the roof 32 stories on the fourth repetition.
Guida said that firefighters sign up to volunteer in July, and extra names are put on a standby list.
Since scheduling conflicts are common, Guida said almost everybody on the standby list gets the opportunity to climb.
On the 26th floor and basement are beverages and snacks for the firefighters when they need to refuel. Guida said that if a climber becomes too tired to continue, another climber on the standby list can finish the climb.
Guida said having separate climbers for the same name doesn't dilute the purpose. "What matters is that those names get to the roof."
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by David Ruiz
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.