Anna firefighters and a local gym marked the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks Wednesday with a memorial stair climb.


The all-day event was held at Workout Anytime’s Anna location and offered up two stair mills and a challenge to local first responders, gym members and members of the public.


“They have a one-hour time slot to come in and climb 110 stories, which was the height of the Twin Towers,” said Jon Waskow, owner of Workout Anytime in Anna and Princeton. “It’s a way for them to commemorate and show their support for those who were lost on 9/11.”


Nearly 3,000 Americans were killed on Sept. 11, 2001 after al-Queda terrorists launched a series of coordinated attacks. Hijackers took control of three commercial airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C..Passengers and crew members on a fourth hijacked plane were able to storm the aircraft’s cabin and brought the plane down over rural Pennsylvania.


All on board were killed in the crash.


More than 400 first responders, many of them firefighters, died in the collapse of the Twin Towers. And nearly 20 years later, many who survived and assisted in search efforts at Ground Zero continue to struggle with 9/11-related illnesses like cancer, post traumatic stress disorder and respiratory diseases.


“It’s definitely very humbling when you think about what they did and what they went through,” Anna Fire Department Firefighter Carl Konosky said Wednesday.


Konosky was one of several Anna firefighters who donned full bunker gear — at least 60 lbs. worth — and took part in this year’s stair climb.


“We’ve been practicing at the gym because we definitely wanted to train for it,” Konosky said. “But it’s still a lot of work, especially with all the gear on.”


Though nearly 20 years have passed since 9/11, Konosky said the date still holds an important place in the hearts of America’s first responders and highlights the bravery displayed on one of the nation’s darkest days.


“It’s a privilege to have the community’s trust and to serve the public every day, but it’s an honor to carry on the legacy of the men and women that made the sacrifice and gave their lives on Sept. 11.” Konosky said.


Drew Smith is a reporter for the Anna-Melissa Tribune. Contact him at asmith@heralddemocrat.com.