DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - They were climbing with a cause. Daytona Beach veterans and their supporters took to the stairs at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks.
"I'm doing it to support 9/11 in remembrance of the firefighters and first responders," explained Trey-Shawn Perez, an Army veteran who served in Iraq. He said the terror attacks on 9/11, 2001, that killed nearly 3,000 people, inspired him to enlist. "I'm actually a post-9/11 veteran, so joining after the 9/11 Attacks, to serve my country and protect it proudly."
In 2001, terrorists hijacked four planes, crashing two of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. The third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and the fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. The World Trade Center's Twin Towers had 110 stories. First responders would have had to climb about 2,200 steps to get to the top.
To reach that number of steps, today's climbers had to go up and down 81 times. Most of them were members of Team Red, White, and Blue, a nonprofit group for veterans. "There are post-9/11 veterans out there that are trying to get back into the community and stuff like that, so we are trying to let them know their best days are ahead through a focus on health and wellness," said Lani Faulkner, a Team RWB organizer.
The climb was one of more than 90 hosted by Team RWB across the country. These veterans said they were proud to remember the victims and support the US military. "It's good to recognize the sacrifices of our first responders and all the people at 9/11," said Mary Dier, an Air Force veteran, "but also good for this community to see a group of veterans and supporters in red, white, and blue."