by Emily Mosier
Students, Community remember 9/11 anniversary with stadium climb
During the Second Annual 9/11 Stadium Climb, students, community members and local first responders paid homage to the hundreds of firefighters who sacrificed their lives 21 years ago.
On the anniversary of the tragic terrorist attack, Troy University’s Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (AFROTC) invited participants to climb 1,980 steps in the stands of Veterans Memorial Stadium, which is the same number of steps as in the Twin Towers.
According to the AFROTC public affairs chair Cassidy O’Neal, a sophomore exercise science major from Anniston, Alabama, somewhere between 35 and 45 people climbed, paying tribute to the first responders who gave their lives.
“A lot of people realize the tragedy of what happened and decided to join the military or become first responders,” O’Neal said. “We want to remember that.”
The event began with a moment of silence and the national anthem. Teams were encouraged to work at their own pace.
Although Morgan Ealy, a freshman in the Interpreter Training Program from Smiths Station, Alabama, ended up joining a team of strangers; she arrived fully prepared to climb alone.
“Looking back at the videos from that day definitely give me an emotional feeling, even though I don’t have any connections to it personally,” Ealy said. “I just want honor what the firefighters had to go through.”
Several local firefighters, clothed in full firefighting gear, climbed the stadium steps alongside students, parents, community members, and even families with children.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d probably give it a 7 for difficulty, but it does depend for how long you go or how much you choose to do,” said AFROTC member Aaron Ford, a sophomore computer science major from Canton, Georgia.
Ford said he was inspired by the firefighters who were present to push himself harder.
“They had a climb it in less than ten minutes or so, and that’s what we’re [AFROTC] are trying to do today, “O’Neal said.
Other organizations that commemorated 9/11 were the College Republicans Club, who partnered with the TROY for Troops Center to place miniature flags around the quad, and The Institute for Leadership and Development, who invited two 9/11 survivors to speak to students Monday.