SAN ANTONIO -- More than 100 firefighters throughout South Texas trudged up the steps of the Tower of the Americas on Tuesday morning.
Some of the firefighters climbed the stairs in their full gear, just as their NYFD brothers had during the 9/11 attacks 11 years ago to the date.
"Remember Their Steps" commemorates the 343 firefighters who were killed in the 9/11 attacks. Each participant carried a photo of one of the victims, while some even carried a list of names in their pockets.
“We all remember where we were that day,” says Fire Chief Charles Hood.
Firefighters had the option to run in their full gear and carry equipment. They could also run in their work uniforms or gym clothes.
The climb was also open to non-firefighters.
Some of the participants climbed the Tower of the Americas twice, which is more than the 110 flights of stairs that represent the number of floors in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
John De La Garza, who went up and down twice said going down was just as hard as going up. It also gave him a chance to think about what they may have gone through.
“When I was coming down the stairs I was by myself and that’s when I think it hit me the most," said De La Garza. "Just trying to think about what those guys were doing in the darkness when those towers were coming down.”
The climb is hosted and managed by The Patriots, a private non-profit group, in cooperation with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, SAFD and the Tower of the Americas.
This year marks the first time the event was open to the public.