Firefighters honor 9/11 first responders with stair climb

 MEDFORD, Ore. — It’s been 18 years since the terrorist attacks on September 11 changed this nation forever. Wednesday Americans from coast to coast paused for ceremonies to remember the 2,977 people who lost their lives.

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.

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