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Stair climbs honor 9/11 firefighters

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two simultaneous stair climbs in Downtown Albuquerque to honor the firefighters who lost their lives during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are among the Albuquerque-area events scheduled for Friday.

Albuquerque Fire Department spokeswoman Melissa Romero said the public can participate in a stair climb in the north stairwell of City Hall, where participants will ascend and descend seven stories eight times. At the same time, current and retired Albuquerque firefighters will walk up and down Albuquerque’s tallest building, the 22-story Bank of Albuquerque building, five times in full bunker gear.

The Twin Towers that collapsed in the attacks were 110 stories tall.

Both the climbs will start at 8:46 a.m., which is when New York City firefighters were dispatched to World Trade Center in 2001, according to a news release from the fire department.

Romero said about 100 people participated in the civilian stair climb last year, which was the event’s first year. It costs $45 to register the day of the climb and $40 in advance. Proceeds will go to the American Red Cross Rio Grande Chapter.

The stair climb for Albuquerque firefighters has existed since 2003.

After the stair climbs, there will be a memorial ceremony in Civic Plaza at 10:30 a.m.

Dan Pantaleo, a retired Marine who led recovery efforts at the Pentagon, will be the keynote speaker. He is a motivational speaker and wrote “Four Days at the Pentagon.”

There is also a 9/11 ceremony at Vista Verde Memorial Park in Rio Rancho on Friday.

Kim Fox, the office coordinator at Daniels Family Funeral Services, which is hosting the event, said on Wednesday about 200 volunteers placed thousands of flags throughout the Memorial Park to prepare for the ceremony – American flags and white ones with the names of all the victims who died in the terrorist attacks.

A barbecue honoring public servants from 4 to 6 p.m. will be followed by a memorial service, she said.

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