This September 11th, Firefighters across the Nation will be climbing in 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs. Some of them are happening this weekend, others next week. I will be unable to make a climb this September, but I was able to climb twice this year already.
For those of you who are climbing, I have a couple of words…
I bumped into a firefighter from a neighboring department today at the gym. He will be climbing for the first time on Sunday in Richmond, VA. I bumped into another one of his coworkers this past weekend at the gas station who said he was climbing as well.
The Brother at the gym asked me two questions. The first one I hear a lot, the second caught me off guard and I appreciated it.
He asked… Do you have any recommendations for the climb? What is it like?
He will be climbing in full gear and airpack. I told him…
- I told him it was ok to take breaks
- It was ok to drop the pack
- It is ok to take off and carry your coat and helmet
- Hydrate before the climb. He can’t drink too much water. He WILL sweat it out.
- Carry a towel to wipe the sweat off of him and cool himself during the climb.
- Keep a bottle of water with him and sip while he climbs
I told him he was doing it for himself and the memory of our lost Brothers. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.
Then he asked… Do you climb in silence?
Do I climb in silence? Yes, I do. With the exception of motivating others to continue climbing, asking if I can carry someones coat or gear, or offer assistance I climb in silence.
Captain Wines and I both like to climb in silence. We like to reflect on what we are doing, why we are doing it, and what we are doing it for.
I have climbed next to others who have different ideas, and that is perfectly fine with me. I have heard cadence from recruit classes who are climbing, people talking about different topics, and laughing and joking. Who am I to judge how they climb.
Each of us is different, each of us do it for different reasons, and each of us get different things out of it.
It Is Important That We Climb. We Remember. We Never Forget. We Honor Our Fallen. We Support The Survivors. We Share Our Experience So That Others Understand. That Is Enough For Me.
Thank you all for climbing this year.
I told you that I won’t be climbing this September, but I have registered at the Kalamazoo Climb. Matthew Schimmel will be climbing for me in my absence. Thank you Brother.
You can still register to climb and support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the FDNY Counseling Unit.
Click here to find a climb and register. Let me know if you need help finding someone at that climb to carry your Firefighters Name for you.