BY CORIE LYNN
Feature image courtesy of FHSU Tiger Fitness Center
Each year, there are activities across the country to memorialize the losses that occurred on Sep. 11, 2001. One memorial the Director of the FHSU Tiger Fitness Center Drew Gannon is bringing to Hays is the stair climb event.
“Just with the beginning of the school year and how fast September 11 has come, it’s never happened, and this year, we just decided to pull the trigger,” he said.
According to Gannon, the stair climb serves as a reminder of the physical sacrifice of that day.
“When we look at what the firefighters did that day climbing 110 flights of stairs,” Gannon said. “They’ve said it’s just over the equivalent of two miles in distance, so we’re offering the stair climb.”
The Hays stair climb will take place at Lewis Field Stadium, where participants will climb stairs, walk around the track or any combination of the two. Whichever they choose, it will equal the 110 flights or two miles climbed by first responders that day.
Gannon asks that people come out even just to support those who are participating in the stair climb because the goal of the event is not only to climb stairs but also to bring a sense of unity in a time marked by division.
“I think that it’s very, very important for, especially when we look at everything that’s going on in our world right now and uncertainty at times and some division,” Gannon said. “But I believe that on 9/11 and 9/12 of 2001, our country was probably more together and more united.”
With so many students even at Fort Hays State who weren’t alive or too young to remember the event, Gannon also hopes to bring back a piece of history.
‘I think it’s super important for us, those of us that we’ alive, to maybe bring a touch of history and let those students experience it and see this was the type of sacrifice that was made that day,” he said.
The stair climb is a free event taking place on Sep. 11. Registration begins at 7:00 a.m. at Lewis Field Stadium. A moment of silence and the climb to follow at 7:46, which is the time the first plane struck the towers.
Though this is the first year the memorial stair climb has taken place in Hays, Gannon is hoping it will not be the last.
“It is the twentieth anniversary, and so that is kind of the importance of really and truly trying to kick it off this year,” he said.