Panama City, FL –
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Florida (WMBB) – This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11. In Panama City Beach, it also marks the end of a decade-long event that honored the lives lost that day.
Panama City Beach Fire Chief Administrative Officer Terry Parris organized the first 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in Panama City Beach in 2011 to mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
10 years later, Chef Parris said he felt the 20th anniversary was the right time to celebrate the last. The last ascent of the 9/11 Memorial Staircase in Panama City Beach was on Saturday, August 28.
During the event each year, participants climbed 110 flights of stairs, the same height as the World Trade Center towers.
“Every person who climbs would get a medal of honor, clip it onto themselves and climb in honor of that person,” Parris said. “So the symbolism is that we go up for that person and finish the climb. At the end of the climb, they ring a bell and say that person’s name.
Chief Parris was in his 10th year as a firefighter when the attacks took place on September 11, 2001.
“I think I was like most – you’re in shock. Then the anger sets in, ”he said. “Almost 3,000 innocent lives were lost that day. It is difficult to understand. “
Parris said he will never forget how the nation came together in the days after the attacks. He thinks the climb up the stairs gave a glimpse of that feeling.
Over the past decade, first responders from near and far have come to the Panhandle just to participate.
“We never forget that day,” said Ian Murray, Gulfport firefighter and 2020 participant. “These guys that are here, these men and women with the police, firefighters and EMS, it’s kinda like our day to remember what we do. “
For Chief Parris, the annual event has also created lifelong bonds with people like Susan, who is the widow of a deceased firefighter.
“She records from time to time, we record with her,” he said. “She bought a book and a small present for my daughter – we are close now.”
Usually the event takes place closer to September 11, but in its final year it took place earlier. Parris and his family have spent the week in New York City and are planning to attend the 9/11 ceremony in Lower Manhattan.
“I hope that when I am in New York I can meet Susan and her family,” he said.
Over the past decade, the rise has raised funds for organizations supporting first responders. Now, even if the climb ends, Parris has said he will continue to work with the Emerald Coast First Responders Association.
He said they are planning to hold fundraising events in the future.
20th anniversary of 9/11 marks end for Panama City Beach Memorial Stair Climb Source link 20th anniversary of 9/11 marks end for Panama City Beach Memorial Stair Climb