MORRISON, Colo. (CBS4) – Thousands of people gathered at Red Rocks on Wednesday to honor the 343 FDNY firefighters and almost 3,000 Americans killed in terror attacks on September 11, 2001. The Colorado 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb raises more that a million dollars a year for FDNY Counseling Services Unit and other programs that all help support families of fallen firefighters.

(CBS)

The event began with a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the moment when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center 18 years ago. The stair climb began at 9:03 a.m., the moment hijackers crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower.

Participants completed nine laps around the amphitheater — climbing the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. Many firefighters completed the climb in full gear.

(CBS)

“This is a job I’ve wanted to do my whole life — a lot of people wish they could do this job. So it’s an honor to be able to do it and really show the community that this is a passion for people who do this job. It’s really an honor to be able to be here today — to always be there for them,” firefighter Leif Chinender told CBS4.

Fire departments from across Colorado took part in the annual event.

Colorado’s Stair Climb is one of more than 40 stair climbs held around the world and is the largest in the country.

The group raised $106,000.

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