Baylor Army ROTC hosts 9/11 event, climbs 2,079 stairs in remembrance of first responders

Baylor Army ROTC and students climb the steps of McLane Stadium in remembrance of first responders who died on 9/11. Kassidy Tsikitas | Photographer

By Madeline Condor | Staff Writer, Abbey Ferguson | LTVN Reporter

In remembrance of 9/11, Baylor students and the general public joined Baylor Army ROTC to do a stair climb at McLane Stadium, climbing the entire distance first responders covered on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

Cambridge, England, senior Cadet Sidney Gradney said this is the first time they’ve done this event, which had around 125 attendees and primarily consisted of the stair climb.

“The math behind everything is based on 9/11,” Gradney said. “They climbed 2,079 stairs, which is about 55 flights of stairs, which is about a 2-mile distance.”

The event began with a moment of silence and prayer, followed by a brief speech from Waco Fire Chief Gregory Summers.

“If you do two laps around the entire stadium, it’s 1,366 stairs, which is not the whole thing,” Gradney said. “Then we do have the entire 2,071 stairs, which will be the entire second level, the entire first level twice and then sections 100 through 111.”

Many undergraduate students were not alive at the time or are not old enough to remember 9/11, but through events like ROTC’s stair climb, the lives lost on this day 22 years ago are not forgotten.

Houston senior Maddie Cresswell said the efforts made to remember those lives mean a lot to her.

“Having a dad who works for the city of Houston Fire Department means that 9/11 is a day that we always choose to remember, and we make sure that we hold it special in our hearts,” Cresswell said.

The distance was covered in groups going between 30 seconds and one minute after each other to ensure a smooth process. Water stations were provided throughout the field.

“Today, my family remembers the sacrifices that were made by those 343 firefighters on that day in 2001, but we also take today to remind ourselves of the ongoing sacrifices that first responders make every day,” Cresswell said. “Having my dad be in a line of work that puts his life at risk is a scary thing. However, I could also not be more proud of the courage that he has to make sure that the people in his community are safe every day that he goes to work.”

Abbey Ferguson is a sophomore Broadcast Journalism major from Los Angeles, California with minors in Corporate Communications and History in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and Honors Program. In her second year at the Lariat, Abbey is excited to build off of the journalism skills she learned during her first year and gain more knowledge about seeking out compelling news stories. After graduation, she plans to enter a career as an on-scene broadcast reporter.