SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) — Civilians and first responders from across Wisconsin will be at Lambeau Field later this month to walk in the 6th annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb.
The event is an opportunity for people to come together to honor and remember the sacrifice made by the 343 FDNY freighters lost 17 years ago.
Firefighters from Sun Prairie will be gearing up to make the climb.
"It’s a cliche but we never want to forget what happened," said Sun Prairie firefighter Clint Mueller.
Mueller will be taking on the stairs in his full turnout gear.
"It is difficult, it’s hard, but when you’re done it’s a great feeling," Mueller said.
Pants, jacket, helmet and even an air-pack that weighs 20 pounds on its own.
"The firefighters who went into the Twin Towers did it," Mueller said. "They were wearing that full turnout gear so for us it makes sense. Do what they did and finish the climb they weren’t able to."
The firefighters from Sun Prairie will be climbing one foot after another until they’ve climbed the equivalent of the World Trade Center.
Mueller says it takes him two-and-a-half to three hours to climb the 110 stories. Every floor is climbed with the memory of a firefighter lost on that day.
"You receive a badge with a photograph of one of the firefighters who died and their name and their engine company," Mueller said.
Every one of the 343 firefighters lost is honored.
"You get to the equivalent of 78 floors and there’s a silver bell that you ring and say the name of the firefighter," Muller said.
Seventy-eight floors is the highest known location that firefighters reached.
"Then we continue the climb so that their memory gets to the top," Mueller said.
Over the speakers the audio from the firefighters’ radio on that day plays.
"It’s haunting, you hear voices that you know are no longer there," Mueller said.
This year, one more firefighter will be remembered: Captain Cory Barr, the firefighter who died in the Sun Prairie explosion.
"He is one of our own, we’re never going forget him and we’re going to have him in our mind the entire time we’re there and the entire time afterward," Mueller said.
The stair climb raises money for the National Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation (NFFF).
Anyone can participate and you don’t have to wear turnout gear.
People are also invited to watch if they don’t feel they can participate in the climb.
The climb starts at 9:30 a.m. on September 22, 2018 at Lambeau Field. For more information, click here.