KWU hosts 2nd annual Memorial Stair Climb

Written by on October 7, 2023

By Ryah Klima / Photography Editor

September 11, 2001, is a date that many Americans will never forget. On that day, 2,996 people lost their lives in a devastating attack on the United States. Thousands more were injured. Only twenty survivors were pulled from the rubble. Twenty-two years later, Americans still make a conscious effort to remember the tragedy that occurred across the United States. The tragedy spread from the World Trade Center, The Pentagon and all the way to Somerset County, Pennsylvania. 

As reported previously, the Salina Fire Department held the Second Annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Kansas Wesleyan University’s JRI Stadium on September 9th, 2023. This event occurs annually to remember the lives lost in the 9/11 attacks. The community in Salina, both service members and civilians alike, are able to participate in this event. Each climber, service member or otherwise, is given badge clips with names and photos of individuals who lost their lives on that day. The firefighters who climbed the twin towers were hauling upwards of 100 pounds of gear. To signify the importance of this, members of the SFD also participate in the climb in their firefighting gear.


Photo by Ryah Klima / A group from the SFD climbs up the stairs near the American flag

However, it is not just members of the SFD who climb. Detective Dani Lemon, resident director of Pfieffer hall, participated in the climb with the Salina Police Department.

“I want to support the fire department, and it’s also just for a good cause,” Lemon stated regarding her participation in the event. “I don’t know if you were around for September 11. I was, I remember it. I remember watching it. It is just a little bit to do our part to help the people who were affected by it.”

This event serves as a fantastic way to bring people together to remember and honor what happened, even for the younger generation who did not experience it.

“It opened our eyes to just the fact that it can happen on our territory,” Lemon concluded on the nationwide impact of 9/11. 


Photo by Ryah Klima / Detective Dani Lemon begins her ascent

Kelli Witte, a resident of Assaria, also participated in the climb.

“I feel we should honor the lives of those men and women who selflessly ran towards danger as so many fled away. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to give back,” Witte stated regarding her reason for taking the climb. Many people remember exactly where they were when the attacks happened.

“I was on Belmont turning west onto Magnolia in Salina. I remember the radio stations only broadcasting news on every channel. I remember going home and watching the news trying to understand how someone can have so much hate inside them,” Witte also recalled the way that people started preparing for disaster, lining up at gas pumps and grocery stores.  

The Memorial Stair Climb brings people of all ages and backgrounds together to remember the attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. Students, service members, and other community members all come together to remember this crucial time in American History. Other communities around the United States commemorate the attacks in other ways, such as the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s annual Commemoration event.


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Photo by Ryah Klima / The American flag waves next to JRI Stadium


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