MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Marines, sailors and civilians joined together for a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Sept. 9, 2016.
The stair climb honored the fallen firefighters who responded to the attacks on the World Trade Centers on Sept. 11, 2001.
Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Marines with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron hosted the event, which allowed station residents the opportunity to walk in the boots of the firefighters who responded to the aftermath of the attacks.
“This is the first year we have opened this memorial up to the base,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Barnes, assistant chief of operations with ARFF. “This is our way of doing something small to give back to the families affected from the attacks and the firefighters who lost their lives that day. Over time, events like this go away and if we don’t remember them, they are replaced by new events. I don’t want this to go away and want it to be remembered annually all over the world.”
Participants climbed six floors multiple times for a total of 110 floors while carrying a fire hose, simulated casualty or firefighting gear. Pictures lined the walls of the sixth floor to provide examples and visuals of the attacks.
“I was in the fourth grade when 9/11 happened, and I remember sitting in class with my teacher and classmates watching the news,” said Cpl. Colten Corsetti, a Provost Marshal’s Office military working dog handler with H&HS. “Those pictures just reminded me of that day and how horrific and tragic it was for us as a nation, but yet how close it brought us together. When I completed this climb of 110 stories it just humbled me that I got to do this for one of the brave men or women who gave their life for someone else. It made me thankful for the brave men and women who I now have the opportunity to know and serve with and who I know would do the same for someone in need.”
While conducting the climb, each participant carried a photo of one of the 343 fallen firefighters while their names were read out in remembrance.
“It reminds us more than ever that we need to be thankful and appreciate the first responders we have back home in the states and the ones we even serve alongside with here at MCAS Iwakuni,” said Corsetti. “You never know what the future might hold and we need to remember that every life is precious, and we need to be there for each other when the wolves are knocking at the door.”