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Austin Fire performs what it says is the longest running tribute of its kind in the country honoring 9/11 victims

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here’s a stately list of some of Austin’s best Sunday mornings, and firefighters are carrying on the tradition in honor of their peers who died on September 11, 2001.

According to the Austin Fire Department, the annual “Memorial Stair Climb” is the oldest and first event of its kind in the country.

Austin Fire Lt. Jerry Cohen said it started hours after the tragedy. “Just the next morning, one of our training lieutenants at the academy said, ‘Hey guys, we’re going to finish the climb,'” Cohen recalled. can not.”

So every year, Austin firefighters scale the equivalent of a 108-story building at the Buford Fire Tower near Bird Bird Lake.

Up and down the stairs, fully armed, strapped to them weighing 80 pounds.

“It’s long, it’s long, it’s hot, of course, this time of year, but it’s our way of paying tribute,” Cohen said.

The escalation has remained the same for 21 years, but the people involved have changed.

“The fact that we have two people today who weren’t even born on 9/11 shows the success of our tribute,” Cohen said.

Later, at the Texas State Capitol, the Emergency Services Plumbing and Drum Association, made up of the district’s first responders, performed for the captured crowd in the Capitol Rotunda – a fitting and powerful performance to honor and celebrate. remembering the lives lost that day 21 years ago. .

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