GREEN BAY (NBC26) — As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, local firefighters are remembering the FYPD firefighters who gave their lives on that fateful day.
Every year, Pierce Manufacturing and the Green Bay Metro Fire Department hosts a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Lambeau Field. Participants climb or walk the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center in memory of the attacks.
Since it began in 2013, the stair climb at Lambeau has become one of the largest in the country. The 9th annual stair climb is taking place this Saturday.
"The first year we did the climb we had about 400 climbers and every year it's gotten bigger and bigger," said Dan Meyer, the director of sales at Pierce. "The community and the Green Bay Metro Fire Department have really wrapped themselves around the event and helped it grow to what it is today."
All of the proceeds from the event go toward the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. So far this year, 2,400 climbers are already registered for the climb and have already raised $132,000.
The event is dedicated to honoring the 343 FYPD fireman who lost their lives during the attacks. Each participant receives a badge with the name and photograph of one of the fallen firefighters.
"It has their picture on it, their name, what position they held at the time. It's got a clip so you can actually put it on your gear and our guys keep those," said David Litton, the fire chief for the Green Bay Metro Fire Department.
The climb route takes participants chronologically through the events that happened on 9/11, making it an educational opportunity for all, particularly those who were not yet alive or old enough to remember what took place.
"As they climb up and down the stairs of Lambeau field, there's signs along the way that mark what happened that day from the first plane taking off to the second tower collapsing and you get to experience that as you go through," Meyer said.
Meyer has participated in the climb every year since it first came to Green Bay. This year, he will be attending with his three children for the first time.
"Every year we look at the climber badge that I carry with me at the climb and we learn about that specific climber," Meyer said. "For them to get to see it firsthand this year and what that is and what their dad gets to do everyday is going to be really special.”
Teaching the next generation about the events that occurred on 9/11 is how Meyers says the climb is keeping the memory of that day alive.
"We got together back on 9/11/2001 and we all said we're not going to forget and we clearly meant it," Meyer said. "The fact that 20 years later there's still thousands of people gathering to honor these 343 firefighters and others that gave their life, it just speaks to the people of Northeast Wisconsin."
Registration for the climb will be open through Saturday. Those interested can register at piercemfg.com/climb or in-person at the climb.