By Anne Eickstadt


Firefighters and friends begin the grueling climb of 110 stories to symbolize completing the climb to the top of the World Trade Center for the many first responders who never made it to the top or made it out alive.

“Twenty years ago, on 9/11, firefighters, police, and first responders started up 110 flights of stairs in the Twin Towers to rescue everyone trapped there when the planes struck the buildings. They didn’t all make it,” said Belvidere Fire Department Firefighter Nick Thornton. “We are finishing the climb for them.

”We all get a card with the face and name of one of the public safety personnel who perished that day. We climb the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center, symbolizing completing that climb for them. 

“We have climbers today from the Belvidere Fire Department, Cherry Valley Fire, Chicago Fire, Winnebago County Corrections (a retired Rockford Police officer), with the Belvidere Police Department assisting and a Lifeline Ambulance on site.”

Everyone‒climbers, family and friends‒is allowed to all do a memorial lap at the beginning of the event with the climbers continuing to do the 35 laps of the Funderburg Stadium bleachers needed to equal 110 stories. A Flag of Honor and Flag of Heroes, were flown from the railings.

The Flag of Honor and Flag of Heroes are created from the names of those who died on 9/11. They will forever be remembered.

“Sponsors of this year’s memorial climb are: Twin Towers, Belvidere Fire Department, Fire Union Local 1569 and Charlotte Meier. Sara Thornton did all the work,” Thornton said.

The memorial stair climb was held on Saturday, Sept. 18.

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