PHOTO #1: Members of the Victoria Fire Department pose for a photo at the San Antonio 110 9/11 Memorial Climb on Sept. 11, 2019. This year’s event will be hosted remotely at multiple locations, including Memorial Stadium in Victoria.
PHOTO #2: Community members attend a 9/11 memorial ceremony on Sept. 11, 2019, at the Victoria Community Center. This year, the Victoria Fire Department will host a livestreamed ceremony.
On the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Victoria Fire Department will host a livestreamed ceremony at Memorial Stadium followed by a memorial stair climb to honor the first responders who died on 9/11.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City will not host a public 9/11 ceremony as it has in years past. Instead, residents are invited to view a livestream of the ceremony starting at 7:45 a.m. on the Victoria Fire Department’s Facebook page.
The ceremony will include a presentation of colors by the honor guard, the playing of the national anthem, the sounding of the Last Alarm for fallen firefighters and the playing of taps.
After the ceremony, first responders from multiple local agencies will climb the equivalent of 110 flights of stairs, symbolizing the 110 floors of the World Trade Center.
“It’s a great tribute and a great honor,” said event organizer Joel Gomez, who retired from the Victoria Fire Department in June and currently volunteers with the Goliad Volunteer Fire Department. “The first responders who lost their lives that day are a credit to all of us who put on the uniform.”
Friday’s event is affiliated with the San Antonio 110 9/11 Memorial Climb, which hosts an annual climb at the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio. Because of COVID-19, this year’s event will be hosted at multiple remote sites around the state of Texas.
Each participant climbs in honor of a specific firefighter, police officer or EMS worker who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Gomez has participated in the climb each year since 2014 and has saved the name tags of every first responder he’s honored.
“It’s hard to fathom what those first responders went through, when they went up the towers and a lot of them knew they weren’t coming down,” Gomez said. “During the climb, we motivate each other: ‘They didn’t stop, so we won’t stop.’ It’s tiring, but I know that when it’s over, all I’ll have is a bunch of sore muscles.”
Registration for the event has closed, but Gomez said any first responder who would still like to participate can do so by making a donation to the San Antonio 110 9/11 Memorial Climb, then bringing the receipt to Memorial Stadium on the day of the event.
To make a donation, go to sanantonio110.com. To watch the ceremony, go to the Victoria Fire Department Facebook page or the City of Victoria Facebook page at 7:45 a.m. Friday. The stair climb will not be livestreamed.