Feature Story: ‘We Climb Because They Climbed’

The Marshall 9/11 Climb in Texas (c)Susie Malloy Photo 2019

MARSHALL, TEXAS: Eighteen years ago, on September 11, 2001, American citizens were blindsided as four airplanes were hijacked by terrorists. Two of the planes were crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, one dove into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the last, crashed in a field 80 miles away from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The death toll from this attack was close to 3,000. Close to 500 of the victims killed were heroes – firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics and others.

Every year since the attack, memorials and tributes are planned all over the United States for the victims – especially those who lost their lives in efforts to save and protect.

This year, in Marshall, first responders, community leaders and residents gathered downtown for the city’s annual memorial event to the fallen heroes and a unique tribute.

A prayer ceremony was held with various community leaders reflecting and sharing thoughts. It was after the ceremony that the most remarkable tribute began.

Prepping for climb. (c)SusieMalloy Photos 2019

According to the Marshall Fire Department’s veteran chief, Reginald “Reggie” Cooper, “One of our Emergency Service Districts teamed with East Texas Baptist University, and put together a ‘ Memorial Stair Climb.’”

Chief Cooper told The Murphy Gazette during an interview on Tuesday, September 24, that “The Stair Climb was to simulate the 78 flights of stairs those brave men and women courageously took on September 11, 2001.”

From various agencies, firefighters, police, law enforcement, highway patrol, a constable and a dispatcher geared up – some in full turnouts and others partially – to climb 110 flights of stairs at East Texas Baptist University’s Marshall Grand , formerly known as Hotel Marshall, in the courthouse square area of the city. The building is said to be the tallest structure in Harrison County, Texas, where Marshall is the county seat.

Chief Cooper watches. (c)Susie Malloy 2019

Led by Marshall Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeremy Michel, several firefighters from the Marshall Fire Department and the other first responders went up and down the stairs. According to Chief Cooper, the event was viewed by a large crowd of spectators who “watched, cheering each and every step.”

“The scene,” Chief Cooper said, “was surreal, sending chills as most watched until the end.”

Of his firefighters, he said, “I try to lead by example, and to me, the incredible part of what we do is we leave it up to them(the firefighters), and their support of the community, and in doing this, is all voluntary.”

Chief Cooper commended everyone involved in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb.

“This year was extra special for us,” he said.


(c)Photos From Susie Malloy – must contact her before using them. Click here for her Facebook page.

(c)Photos From Susie Malloy – must contact her before using them. Click here for her Facebook page.