On September 11th, service men and women in Georgetown will don protective clothing and climb bleacher stairs in the heat. This event is a special homage to the fallen heroes, lost during the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. Battalion Chief Carl Boatright tells the View why he started this event.
When did you start the Memorial Climb?
We began the climb in 2011, on the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. We climb to honor the 343 firefighters and 60 police officers killed when the Twin Towers collapsed. We have continued this tradition every year since 2011 to ensure that their sacrifice is not forgotten.
Who has participated?
Georgetown firefighters and police officers make up the majority of the climbers. We have also had military personnel and their families join us and, last year, a Georgetown City Council member climbed as well.
Can the community come out?
Yes. Members of the community can come out and show their support by cheering us on.
What’s the climb like?
The event begins with a prayer, and then the Police Chief and Fire Chief address the participants. A member of the GFD Pipes and Drums plays a song, usually “Amazing Grace,” and the climb begins. Historically, the climbers do not talk. They reflect on what the climb means. For a brief time, the footsteps fall into unison, adding to the somber mood.
How has this event affected Georgetown service members who participate?
There is no greater thing in life than for a person to lay down their life for another. In order for us to honor the fallen and the families left behind, we must never forget their sacrifice. This event also serves as a reminder to live life to its fullest, to hug your loved ones as much as possible, and to never take your blessings for granted.