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Despite Bomb Threat, Firefighters Climb Kansas City's Town Pavilion In Honor Of 9-11

Cody Newill
Firefighters from eight states came to Town Pavilion Sunday to climb in memory of the fire fighters and civilians killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Hundreds of firefighters and spectators took part in the fifth annual Kansas City 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb on Sunday, despite a bomb threat made last week.

Bagpipes and drums echoed throughout the halls of downtown's Town Pavilion as 343 firefighters from eight states suited up and climbed the 38 -story building three times in a row in memory of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Each firefighter had the picture of one of the 343 New York City firefighters who died at the World Trade Center taped to their backs.

Credit Cody Newill / KCUR
After finishing their climb, a group of firefighters stand in front of banners with the faces of the firefighters killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Shayne Wright of the Southern Platte County Fire Protection Department made the climb for the first time Sunday. He said that the memorial brings out many of the same emotions he felt on Sept. 11, 2001, and that he wants to keep the memory of that day alive.

"It's tough to watch the videos from that day, and to be quite honest, I think many folks have forgotten," Wright said. "I think it's just like when you're sick, you appreciate being healthy. But once you've been healthy for a while, you forget about the sickness."

Last week, the FBI announced that Florida resident Joshua Goldberg plotted to set off a homemade explosive device at the event. He now faces charges of distributing information relating to explosives and weapons of mass destruction, and could get 20 years in federal prison.

Organizer Dave Bova helped start Kansas City's memorial stair climb five years ago. He said he has long expected a threat at some point, but it only bolstered his confidence in the event.

"We were prepared and had all of our security measures in place," Bova said. "Now, does it kind of catch you off guard? A little bit, yeah, it's a direct threat, but that means we're having an impact on people."

Bova said more than 8,000 firefighters tried to register for the climb, and the 343 open slots were filled in fewer than 10 minutes. 

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