(Gregory Hirst, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — On Sept. 11 from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Natrona County Fire-EMS Departments and Law Enforcement Agencies will come together to host a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at the Ford Wyoming Center.

This commemorative event, open to the public, aims to honor the memory of the 343 courageous heroes who lost their lives while climbing the staircases of the World Trade Center on that fateful day in 2001, according to a cooperative press release by Ford Wyoming Center, Natrona County Sheriff’s Office and City of Casper Fire-EMS.

The event holds special significance as it pays tribute to the sacrifices made by the brave firefighters who battled to save lives during the 9/11 attacks. A total of 2,977 lives were tragically lost on Sept. 11, 2001, including 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers. In the years following the attacks, over 2,000 additional deaths have been attributed to 9/11-related illnesses.

“September 11th is a date synonymous with tragedy, heroism, and perseverance,” Casper Fire-EMS Public Information Officer Dane Andersen stated in the release. “Every year since, stair climb events serve as an opportunity to remind persons from every walk of life of the incredible fortitude shown by every first responder on that day, and to honor the sacrifice of those who laid down their lives. Casper Fire-EMS Firefighters are proud to climb alongside our fellow first responders and the citizens we serve.”

Anderson highlighted the annual stair climb events as an opportunity to honor the immense courage displayed by all first responders on that fateful day.

Participants in the event have the option to climb the equivalent of 110 stories or 2,200 steps, symbolizing the height of the World Trade Center. Those who prefer walking can participate on the arena floor track.

The north parking lots of the Ford Wyoming Center will serve as parking for participants, who will access the arena floor through the main doors for check-in. Water stations and easel boards for tracking stair climbs and laps will be provided.

The event will commence with a bell ceremony and a moment of silence at 6 a.m., followed by the National Anthem, led by the City of Casper Fire-EMS Department. Additionally, a livestream of the 22nd-anniversary commemoration ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City will be projected, beginning at 6:30 a.m. and running throughout the morning.

“Our entire staff is excited and honored to open the doors of the Ford Wyoming Center for this important event,” Ford Wyoming Center General Manager Kirk Goodman stated in the release. “We are hoping for a great turnout to honor these men and women who sacrificed their lives on September 11 and those that continue to provide an invaluable service to us every day.”