9/11 Stair Climb

9/11 Stair Climb Makes Connections For Cimarron Middle School Students
Posted on 09/13/2018
Cimarron students prepare to walk nine laps at Red Rocks


As the sun came up over Red Rocks it seemed a day like any other. Exercisers challenged themselves on the steps. Onlookers enjoyed the view. There was something different about this day though. It was September 11. It was also a Tuesday- an ordinary start to a day just like in 2001. That day quickly turned tragic.

“What a beautiful day,” remarked West Metro Firefighter Shawn Duncan from atop a fire engine. “Sorry, this is the first time I’ve seen the crowd today and this always blows me away.” The crowd was the largest 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in its history.

Reflecting on that tragedy sparks different memories for every American who remembers that day. firefighters look at American flag during ceremonyIt’s easy to overlook that there is a whole new generation that only knows of 9/11 as an historical event. Many came to reflect. “We have 451 8th Grade students from Cimarron Middle School in Parker here today,” said Social Studies Teacher Shannon Shelton. “Everybody has a tie somehow to someone,” she said.

father and son walk together at Red RocksHer student Nase Carnesi’s connection is to his father Nick - a firefighter in the town of Elizabeth. I don’t understand why people are like that,” said Nase. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.” This is the second year the father and son have participated in the stair climb together. Nick carries 100 pounds of fire gear as they walk the nine laps around the amphitheater. It is representative of the 110 stories that the New York firefighters climbed at the twin towers in 2001.

The number help tell the story of 9/11 to kids like Nase, but it’s the experience that helps them truly connect. “So many people sacrificed, going into those buildings, probably know that they were never going to go home that night. But they went anyway,” explains Nick to his son as they walk.

Nase took the air tank for the final lap. “Every time that we do this it seems more and more real,” he said as they finished the final lap. The rest of his Cimarron class experienced a history lesson they won’t soon forget. Shelton was moved as she is every year. “It’s our chance to say ‘thank you.’”

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