Muscatine firefighter Travis Edwards participated in the Memorial Stair Climb a year ago, but this year he wanted to do more to honor those who lost their lives in the 2001 attack on the Twin Towers.
Edwards wrote the names of all the firefighters who lost their lives on that fateful day on small flags and then arranged all 343 flags in the grass next to the Public Safety Building, says a news release from the City of Muscatine.
The Muscatine Fire Department, Muscatine Police Department, and the City of Muscatine will observe a Moment of Silence at 7 a.m. Saturday at the Firefighters Memorial. The public is invited and encouraged to come to the corner of Fifth and Cedar to join in honoring those who lost their lives 20 years ago.
“I would like to thank Travis for placing all of the 343 flags next to the memorial,” said Jerry Ewers, Muscatine Fire chief. “I would encourage everyone to attend the memorial service, to stop and reflect, and to offer thanks to our first responders who are serving and protecting us 24/7.”
A memorial stair climb will be conducted at the Merrill Hotel & Conference Center starting at 9 a.m.
Edwards donned full gear and made the 25 and a half round trips of the training tower at the Public Safety Building a year ago and is hopeful that he will be able to do it again this year.
“My shift is on duty so it is just a matter of whether we are called out or not,” Edwards said.
Edwards, who was joined by Andrew McSorley in the climb a year ago, added that he thinks 10 members of the Muscatine Fire Department plan to participate in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb.
Each participant will complete 18 laps of the six-floor Merrill Hotel and many will be carrying badges identifying a firefighter who lost their life trying to save others on that tragic day 20 years ago. The effort is equivalent to 2,200 steps or 110 stories, which was the highest point firefighters reached on that day before the first tower collapsed.
The alley behind the Merrill will be closed to traffic as that will be part of the course for the participants. Spectators are welcome to watch the stair climb from the Chestnut Street side of the Merrill. At the end of the stair climb, a bell rescued from an old fire truck will be rung five times, a long-standing firefighter tradition that is the bell code for back in quarters.