ROTC organizes fourth annual stair climb in remembrance of 9/11
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ROTC organizes fourth annual stair climb in remembrance of 9/11

Published 9/7/17

Jessica Sudbeck

TNE Writer

On Sept. 11, 2001 America fell under attack as four terrorist attacks were executed. Firefighters bravely trekked up 2,071 steps, or 17 flights of stairs, of the World Trade Center towers, many of them with over 50 pounds of gear to save the lives of people they did not know. In recognition of the tragedies that took place that day, NSU ROTC organizes an annual stair climb event to pay tribute to the many lives lost on this horrific day in American history.

“We calculated every step that was in one World Trade Center tower,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kenny Gream, military science instructor for NSU ROTC.  “The amount of stairs in one tower amounts to 18 times up the bleachers of the tall side of the Doc Wadley Stadium. We don’t count the descent down. We only count the incline going up.”

This marks the fourth year that NSU ROTC has had this event. 

“It is open to the public,” said Capt. Kenneth Watthuber, NSU ROTC director.  “We have invited the fire department, police department, CrossFit and all other athletics. Everyone in the community is invited and welcome.”

Alyson Hohrman is an ROTC cadet commander and has participated in the climb in past years.

“This event is about showing your respect and remembering all those who gave their lives that day and also everyone who has given their life since then,” said Hohrman. “In regards to the difficulty, it was very difficult. In the previous years we were in full kit, meaning we wore our uniforms along with our fully equipped fighting load carriers. I was able to complete the entire event along with my fellow cadets. My calves burned throughout and I was perspiring through its entirety. To stay hydrated, we had volunteers throw up Gatorades, waters and snacks. It took over an hour of non-stop stair stepping. This event is one of the more physically taxing that we do and also one of the most rewarding.”

Sept. 11, 2001 proved to be the deadliest day in history for New York City firefighters when 343 courageous heroes were killed. While many participants in the stair climb take breaks or may be unable to finish the journey up the steps, first responders on that fateful day did not have that option. Instead, the brave firemen raced up the many steps, trying to save people who were stuck inside the World Trade Center towers when terrorists flew planes into the buildings

“It isn’t a competition and not everyone will make it up all 18 times,” said Watthuber.  “There will be some people who try to make it a competition, including CrossFit where they raced up and down the bleachers in past years. It is extremely difficult.”

The journey up and down the steps will be a first for Gream and Watthuber, and they hope to have a big crowd this year.

 “This year at the beginning of the climb a former chaplain of the United States Marine Corps will come out to do a benediction with those who will be there to partake in the event,” said Gream. “We will have first responders there as well.”

Sept. 11, 2001 was a day no one can forget as lives were forever changed across the U.S. and the world.

 “The further we get from that day, the more we need to do to remember,” said Watthuber.

Registration for the 9/11 stair climb will take place at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 11 in front of the Doc Wadley Stadium. The climb will start there at 6 a.m. It is estimated to last until 8 a.m.

If interested in joining the NSU ROTC program, please call Watthuber at 918-444-3064 or visit the NSU ROTC page.


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