Here in southern Oregon, firefighters gathered at the Rogue Valley Manor Wednesday afternoon to remember the first responders who were killed protecting others.
It’s a day that shaped the country forever, a day Americans will never forget.
“I was at fire station six,” said Medford Fire-Rescue Captain David Ackles. “My captain came running down the hallway, knocked on the door and said, ‘you need to get out to the living room.’ We watched the second plane hit the tower, and I remember he said that America is changing today… and it did.”
Dozens of firefighters from across southern Oregon paid their respects to those selfless heroes Wednesday. They participated in an annual tradition and climbed the stairs of the Rogue Valley Manor.
“Remembering what happened that day when our country was attacked and the people that gave their lives that day to rescue people,” Ackles said, “from the firefighters to the police officers, to the hero citizens is to remember what they did selflessly.”
The first responders climbed 11 stories in full gear and silence, ending with a ceremony honoring the fallen on the manor’s roof.
“A lot of first responders gave their lives in 9/11 and a lot of first responders lost family, friends, people that are close to them as a result of the same thing,” said Jackson County Fire District 5 firefighter Kyle Keever.” I would say the vast majority of us if not all of us are ready to pay that price and see work, do work. That’s what we’re here for.”
“When people call 911 we go,” Ackles said. “It’s the acceptance of when you get into this career that’s what you’re willing to do.”
This is the 17th year of the stair climb ceremony and the 15th year every fire agency in southern Oregon was invited to participate.
Nicole Costantino is a reporter and weather forecaster for NBC5 News. She comes to us from Phoenix, Arizona where she graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She also received a minor in Meteorology.
Before coming to NBC5 News Nicole was an anchor, weather forecaster and reporter at KAET in Phoenix, AZ. In college, she interned for CBS Evening News in New York City and the NBC4 Investigative Team in Los Angeles.
In her free time, you can find Nicole cheering on her Sun Devils and exploring the Pacific Northwest. Feel free to send story ideas and chocolate chip cookie recipes to her on Facebook (@NicoleCostantino) or Twitter (@NicCostantino).