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First Responders and Residents Climb the Steps of BHG Stadium to Honor the Lives Lost of 9/11


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) – Sunday stadiums in the swamp took on a new meaning on the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Gainesville and Alachua County leaders staged the annual Memorial Stair Climb on Sept. 11 at Ben Hill Griffen Stadium on the University of Florida campus.

RELATED STORY: Marion County residents celebrate 9/11 anniversary with memorial ceremony

Residents got up and out early to witness messages, said the pledge and walked up and down the stadium steps as a way of symbolizing the 110 stories first responders had to climb to rescue those who were attacked.

Gainesville Fire Chief Joseph Dixon Sr. was in Maryland when the towers collapsed.

“It was one of those days where you were stunned, but you understand as first responders as military personnel, we had a job to do and we had to be prepared for what was to come,” Chief Dixon said.

Marihelen Wheeler, chairman of the Alachua County committee, worked at Westwood Middle School.

“What we heard from our administrators is that we had to make sure we didn’t turn on the televisions and didn’t alarm the kids,” Wheeler said.

Both agreed that events like these are important to help the public never forget the lives lost on September 11.

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