For the past four years, members of the Fayetteville Fire Department have paid tribute to the firefighters who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 by climbing Stone Mountain. This year, 36 Fayetteville public safety staff and their children made the trip to the mountain’s summit.

Above, public safety personnel from Fayetteville, joined by those from other agencies, scaled Stone Mountain on Sept. 11 to honor the memories of first responders who lost their lives at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Photo/Stone Mountain Park.

“This morning firefighters from the City of Fayetteville Fire Department challenged themselves to a one-mile climb, equivalent to 160 flights of stairs, to the summit of Stone Mountain to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States” said Stone Mountain Park spokesman Jim Taylor. “Wearing a full complement of firefighting gear, the group tested their own endurance in honor of the sacrifices made by 343 firefighters and paramedics who lost their lives on 9/11.”

Mirroring the comments by Taylor, Fayetteville spokesman Danny Harrison recalled the airline crashes into the World Trade Center towers during the morning hours of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.

It was at the World Trade Center site that “hundreds of New York City public safety personnel rushed into the tragic scene, many climbing the staircases in attempts to rescue victims trapped on upper floors. The death toll at the World Trade Center has been calculated to be more than 2,600 people, not including the thousands wounded. More than 400 of the dead were emergency workers,” said Harrison.

Harrison noted that it was in 2015 when four Fayetteville firefighters – Duncan Hervey, Keith Harris, Russell Reed and Ben Henning – thought it would be fitting to use their day off to honor those brothers and sisters of the public safety profession by climbing Stone Mountain together in full gear, symbolizing that final stair climb New York City rescuers made 11 years before. “Participation grew from there, not only from within the department, but also from other fire and police departments from the Atlanta area. Eighteen fire and police officers make the hike in 2016. Last year, hurricane weather meant a delay in climbing Stone Mountain, and only about a half-dozen made the trek,” Harrison said. “This year’s event saw the best participation to date, with 36 public safety personnel and a few of their children taking part.”

Public safety personnel from Fayetteville were not only ones to scale Stone Mountain. Staff from a number of other agencies also made the trek to the top to honor the fallen.