Lansing, Mich – The 20th anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone.
But one Upper Peninsula man’s actions last weekend are worth talking about.
The loss of that day in 2001 lingers, especially for the first responders who made it out. They all know fellow firemen who weren’t so lucky.
Keweenaw Bay Fire Department Captain, Jake Putala chose to “walk in their boots.”
He ran the steps of the Michigan Capitol Building decked out in all the equipment firefighters had on as they climbed the stairs of the world trade center 20 years ago.
“So this challenge includes 2,071 steps. The significance of that is that it is the equivalent of 110 stories and that’s how many stories were in the former World Trade Center. And the amount of stories firefighters and first responders had to face as they entered the building to rescue people,” Putala said. “I chose to do 2,071 steps to honor that, to put that into perspective the physical challenges they faced on that dark day and I also wanted to do it in full gear because most of the firefighters and first responders there had their air tanks, they had their bunker pants, they had all their PPE on because it was such a dangerous and evolving situation. So that made it more challenging, I was exhausted by the end of it but I thank God for the opportunity to honor first responders in that way and I thank God for their sacrifices on September 11th 2001.
Putala said he had a special reason to honor 9/11 responders in that way.
“I was inspired to do this to help honor the sacrifices our 9/11 first responders went through as they climbed over 110 stories in the World Trade Center,’ Putala said. “Although, climbing the steps of the Capitol is nothing compared to what they went through on that dark day, it helped put it into perspective the physical challenges they faced like caring their gear, rescuing people out of the building and being in just a dangerous situation.”
Not everyone is a firefighter or a first responder.
Putala said one way everyone can honor those who lost their lives is by remembering who they were and their ultimate sacrifice
“I think the biggest takeaway is remembrance, making sure people know what those first responders had to go through on that dark day and the ultimate bravery they showed to rescue people from the World Trade Center,” Putala said. “There were thousands of lives saved by fire fighters, first responders and police officers on September 11th and I think that people ought to remember and honor them for that because as everyone was running away from the danger, they were running towards it. And I think that is an incredible thing.”
9/11 is a day we will never forget.