Moment of silence, stair climb set for Patriots Day in Muscatine

[image courtesy City of Muscatine]

The Muscatine Fire Department, Muscatine Police Department, and the City of Muscatine join together in inviting area residents to visit the Muscatine Firefighters Memorial on the corner of Fifth and Cedar where a Moment of Silence will be held at 7 a.m., Saturday, September 11, 2021.

“We remember the citizens who died, the 343 firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice that day, the other responders who perished, and the families of the fallen who have had to endure more than we can know,” Assistant Fire Chief Mike Hartman said.

A memorial stair climb will be conducted at the Merrill Hotel & Conference Center starting at 9 a.m. Several members of the Muscatine Fire Department will participate in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb that pays tribute to the 343 FDNY (Fire Department of New York) firefighters who lost their lives racing up the stairs of the Twin Towers to rescue victims of the attack.

Each participant will complete 18 laps of the six-floor Merrill Hotel and many will be carrying badges identifying a firefighter who lost their life trying to save others on that tragic day 20 years ago.

The effort is equivalent to 2,200 steps or 110 stories, which was the highest point firefighters reached on that day before the first tower collapsed.

The alley behind the Merrill will be closed to traffic as that will be part of the course for the participants. Spectators are welcome to watch the stair climb from the Chestnut Street side of the Merrill.

At the end of the stair climb, a bell rescued from an old fire truck, will be rung five times, a long standing firefighter tradition that is the bell code for back in quarters.

This is the 20th Anniversary of the coordinated terrorist’s attacks that resulted in 2,977 fatalities and over 25,000 injuries, many of whom have been plagued by substantial health concerns since the attack.

“We also remember the strength of our brother and sister responders, their families who supported them, and the nation’s response as a whole,” Hartman said. “Great loss reveals character, and we as a nation stood tall on this day so many years ago. As we grieve the loss we can take solace in our response to this event. Stay safe, and stay strong.”

Firefighters Travis Edwards and Andrew McSorley took up the challenge in 2020, completing 25 and a half round trips in the training tower at the Public Safety Building. Edwards carried a special badge with him, one that Assistant Fire Chief Mike Hartman carried with him when he took the challenge at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., several years ago.

That badge honored Michael Kruse, the only Muscatine firefighter to lose his life while on active duty. Kruse died while battling a house fire on Sept. 14, 2002, just a year and three days after the 9/11 attacks.

A memorial service for Kruse will be held at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at the Firefighters Memorial. The public is invited to attend the service.