SAN ANTONIO — Hundreds of first responders from across the country gathered in San Antonio to honor those who died in the terrorist attacks 21 years ago.
First responders from several agencies climbed the stairs in the Tower of the Americas twice, which organizers say exceeds the height of the World Trade Center towers.
For all the first responders gathered at the Tower’s base, they all remember how 9/11 impacted their lives.
McQueeney Fire Chief Michael Wiedner was in the San Antonio Fire Academy at the time.
“Shortly after, I joined the Army, I did a buddy program with my buddy and went straight in. We deployed together, nine days later he passed away after being killed in Iraq,” Wiedner said.
Prisscilla Martinez, whose husband Hector is a San Antonio firefighter, saw that sacrifice first hand.
“My mom served in two wars, she came back but many of those that we know did not,” Martinez said.
2,977 lives ended that day, and Martinez is climbing for a few who were carrying life.
“I’m 7 months pregnant, and I’m climbing because over 10 people who were pregnant that day, civilians, didn’t get to hold their babies,” Martinez said as she was holding one of her three daughters.
Martinez’s husband was one of the many first responders wearing a nametag for one of the 343 fallen firefighters, 70 law enforcement officers, 9 EMS, and 1 K9 who perished that day.
The San Antonio 110 says over 500 first responders answered the bell to pay tribute on Sunday.
Along the way—each firefighter touched a piece of reclaimed steel from the World Trade Center.
Martinez doesn’t want her family to forget the sacrifices made.
“I think [of] those fathers didn’t get to meet those babies and there’s firefighters on the ground so. I think, for me that’s a big deal in why I’m climbing today”
And every day, Chief Wiedner wants everyone to remember.
“Remember where you came from, what your parents did, what your family did, what those veterans did overseas in the past to give us those civil freedoms that we have today that we take for granted. Pay respect back to them, they gave the ultimate sacrifice. They deserve it,” Wiedner said.