Sadly, one of the first things I noticed is that the turn-out of supporters (ie civilian and otherwise to support and cheer on the climbers seemed to have diminished even from last years event…. Definitely from my first time going, two years ago. Sad because these guys do this in memory of those who died on 9-11 when our lives and lives as we knew it had changed forever; When, as one of last year’s speakers said, “Our innocence was taken from us”.
We Promised to Never Forget, So We Climb
Maybe it was me, but it seemed like even the number of climbers, as well as vendors, had gone down from last year.
Thankfully there are still those who come out each year to cheer on not only their own family but all who participate in the Climb 4 The Fallen event. Like this lady, who’s son and Daughter-In-Law participate in the “climb” each year.
This year her family was climbing on a different stairwell not accessible to the view of the public, but that didn’t stop her from cheering on the other firefighters as they climbed. In fact, that is most likely her voice you’ll hear in the video clips I took of the event. And then there’s her grandson (?) who has a tradition of handing out water to the climbers (Honestly, I don’t know how I missed this act of kindness in the past years)
And there were these girls were also there cheering on their dad (daddies? – I think they are actually separate families).
And, of course, this little fella (ok not so little now) – Two years ago I saw as shown on the left. He was so cute I just had to get a picture. If memory serves me correct he “climbed” that year (though I think he was actually carried by dad for most of it). Would you believe that’s the same kiddo, doing the climb, on the right?? – Quite the little climber. I think he climbed pretty much the whole thing this year, by himself. I saw him last year as well but missed getting a picture.
There was only the one speaker this year, but he made quite an impact. Those of you who were in attendance at the event last year or who read my “2014 Tucson Climb For The Fallen” blog post will remember speaker Danny Rowen
Danny Rowen at the “2014 Tucson Climb For The Fallen”
Danny Rowen at the “2015 Tucson Climb For The Fallen”
It was an honor to hear Mr. Rowen speak, though if he were to “hear” me say that I’m sure his response would be that of humbleness. Other than exchanging a few niceties here and there, I have not had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Rowen, who was an FDNY Firefighter at the time of 9-11; But I can tell you, from the few interactions I’ve had, he’s a down-to-earth kind of guy. Mr. Rowen lost a sizable number of comrades that day and, as he says, each year he learns of more losses due to cancer from the carcinogens in the air. Each day, certain times get to him – 3:43 am, he’s awaken thinking of the 343 that were lost the day; The time that the towers were hit and the time the towers collapse are yet more times that hit him hard. He “laughs” as he speaks about that day, only because if he doesn’t he’ll “be in trouble”. Even then, as you listen to Mr. Rowen speak, you here the unmistakable catch in his voice as (I’m sure) he struggles to find the inner strength to go on – stirring up what has to be painful memories of that day. He talks of his police car being a “memorial” as he carries his gear from that day. When he looks upon the names of those who lost their lives that day, I know he’s remembering the loss of comrades…of close personal friends
Some of the departments that had members that climbed this year were:
I’ve included Facebook and Twitter links were applicable – Why not check them out and give em some “Luv” via a Like or a Follow.
I also captured a few other photos from the event:
Unfortunately I was having some problems with my charging cord and was fast losing battery power before the end of the event. I did manage to snap a couple photos at the end, a couple of them from the “Final Bell”
And last, I managed to get a couple of video clips in:
I hope to be at the 2016 Tucson Climb For The Fallen and I hope there are a lot more people there. In the meantime, let’s Remember to NEVER FORGET not only those who died on 9-11 but all those who died in the Line Of Duty sacrificing their lives for the sake of others, that other might live.