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MacDill AFB firefighters honor fallen 9/11 first responders through stair climb

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TAMPA, Fla. — Sunday marks more than two decades since the attacks on September 11. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives that day, including first responders who rushed in to help as the towers fell.

On Friday, firefighters at MacDill Air Force Base came together to honor the fallen first responders who gave their lives that day to save others.

“It was about two and a half years prior to me being around,” said Nathan Baer.

Most people know where they were on 9/11, but at 18 years old, MacDill firefighter Baer instead remembers the legacy left behind.

“I feel the weight of the moment,” said Baer. “Even though I might not have been there or around when it happened, its legacy has had a lasting effect on my life.”

Firefighters at MacDill AFB held a short and solemn ceremony Friday morning to honor the lives of the 343 FDNY members killed on 9/11, stopping to pay their respects to the fallen who put duty before themselves 21 years ago.

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“They were just doing their job,” said Harley McCurter, the Installation Fire Chief at MacDill AFB. “They went up there. They thought that they were responding to a structural fire of some sort, and then the whole world changed in one moment.”

After the ceremony, firefighters suited up under pounds of gear and climbed 110 flights of stairs, a total of around 37 times up and down.

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“Just thinking about the firefighters who had all their packs, all their gear on. They’re going up to save lives. We only had a pack on, so I just knew I had to go through it and give it my all,” said Jalen McCorvey, a firefighter at MacDill.

Whether you remember where you were or only know through history, these firefighters are reminding people those heroes who were lost that day can’t be forgotten.

“Every time they went in, they made the choice. They knew that they were potentially not coming out to see their wives, their husbands, their kids, their families,” said Baer. “Everyone knew that that might have been their last time going into a building, but they did it anyway, and I don’t want people to forget that.”

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