Memorial 5k to honor fallen 9/11 firefighters

The names and photos of the 343 fire-fighters lost lined the finish line.
The names and photos of the 343 fire-fighters lost lined the finish line.(WXIX)
Published: Sep. 11, 2021 at 11:07 PM EDT
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Crescent Springs, Ky. (WXIX) - Hundreds gathered today in Crescent Springs and Villa Hills to honor the thousands of lives lost 20 years ago in the deadliest attack on U.S. soil.

The 4th annual Northern Kentucky Tunnel to Towers 5K Run/Walk also helped raise money that benefits first responders and military personnel in need.

The event remembered the nearly three thousand people who died in the terrorist attacks 20 years ago.

Many firefighters were also at the race to honor their brothers, who lost their lives trying to save others that day.

Firefighter Marc Wicher says this day is very emotional for him.

“I was in the Buffalo area on 9-11,” said Wicher. “I went to the fire station, got put on standby and we were flown about 1 p.m. and landed in New York and crossed the tunnels into Manhattan.”

Wicher said he’s honoring the fallen by taking the race on in his 60 plus pounds of fire-fighting equipment.

“Firefighters lost at ground zero are just scratch. There are a lot more dying every day. We continue the respiratory issues we are having,” said Wicher.

The names and photos of the 343 firefighters lost lined the finish line.

“343 is more than a number,” said Tunnel to Towers director Lesley Allen. “When you hear that 343 firefighters died, that’s a lot, but that’s just a number until you see these signs that are lined up all through the park. It really makes you realize the loss, the enormous loss that we had on that day.”

Tunnel to Towers 5k run/walk
Tunnel to Towers 5k run/walk(WXIX)

Another focal point of the race is the Northern Kentucky 9/11 Memorial. Crescent Springs/Villa Hills Fire Chief Jeff Wendt made it his mission to bring in a steel beam for the memorial for all to reflect on what happened 20 years ago.

“With the piece of steel being here and people being able to touch the steel it really brings it home to people that this is a part of the building, said Wendt. “You see the video on TV but you can’t really grasp it, you see the mangled piece of steel and it kind of brings it into perspective.”

The memorial has been a permanent fixture at the park in Crescent Springs.

“I drive past here 15 times a day and every time I drive by this place, it really means a lot to me,” said Chief Wendt.

Wendt wants others to never forget the heroes we lost on Sept. 11th, 2001.

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