NORTH EAST — On Saturday, Sept. 11, community members came together with firefighters and first responders at North East Fire Company to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
People in attendance had the option of participating in the stepping fundraiser — which benefited the North East Fire Company — or just coming to observe the morning ceremony.
Those who chose to step on the curb outside the fire company on S. Mauldin Ave. had to step 1980 times; an homage to the 110 flights of steps climbed by firefighters in the World Trade Center.
Shannon Alexander organized the event to pay tribute to those firefighters lost.
“In my little boutique fitness studio, I have a dry erase board with workouts written on it. Last Sept. 11, In the lower left hand corner, I wrote: 343 firefighters lost, 110 flights of stairs, 1980 steps,” Alexander said. “I have looked at those words every day for the last year. I wanted to create a tribute workout to commemorate the 110 flight of stairs fire fighters climbed that day, but I only have one step climbing machine at my gym.”
At 8:46 A.M., the national moment of silence was observed, 20 years to the minute after American Airlines Flight 11 was crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York.
During the ceremony, which occurred between the two waves of stepping, officials from the community had the opportunity to make brief remarks about the significance and the importance of the day.
County Administrator Dan Schneckenburger spoke at the ceremony on behalf of the Cecil County Government and County Executive Danielle Hornberger.
“You know that 9/11 changed all of us in some way,” Schneckenburger said. “I would not be involved in public service except for the events.”
Following Schneckenburger, North East Police Chief James Just took the stage. Just used the time to remember and pay honor to the fallen police officers and first responders who died that day.
“We will always, always remember to honor the service and sacrifice of those public safety heroes who gave their lives in the line of duty,” Just said.
Alexander worked with the Salute to Cecil County Veterans, Inc. and Salute President Brian DeMaris to put on the event.
“The idea to turn the workout into a North East Fire Company Fundraising event was something that I proposed to The Salute to Cecil County Veterans board in order to give back to the Fire Company for their continued support and help for our July 3rd event every year and to help with some of the deficit they are experiencing due to covid time fundraisers being cancelled,” Alexander said.
In all, 83 steppers came out Saturday and the fire company raised just under $6,000 from the event.
Over 200 people came out for the memorial ceremony and, although not all of them participated in the stepping, they did pay tribute to the fallen on a solemn day.
“We are very pleased with how the event was attended and feel it was a wonderful tribute to the fallen firefighters, law enforcement and the military personnel we lost that day and those lost since then as a direct result of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001,” Alexander said.