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Osan honors 9/11 first responders

A U.S. Air Force firefighter with the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron walks up a flight of stairs during a 9/11 memorial stair climb at Seoraksan Tower on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. Participants climbed the tower’s eight stories 16 times, totaling up to 112 flights overall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

A U.S. Air Force firefighter with the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron walks up a flight of stairs during a 9/11 memorial stair climb at Seoraksan Tower on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. Participants climbed the tower’s eight stories 16 times, totaling up to 112 flights overall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

A U.S. Air Force firefighter assigned to the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron takes part in a 9/11 memorial stair climb at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. Participants climbed 112 flights in order to honor the 343 firefighters who died rescuing others during 9/11, and to understand what they went through that day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

A U.S. Air Force firefighter assigned to the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron takes part in a 9/11 memorial stair climb at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. Participants climbed 112 flights in order to honor the 343 firefighters who died rescuing others during 9/11, and to understand what they went through that day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Devon Smith, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron fire and emergency services flight lead firefighter, reads the names of emergency responders who gave their lives rescuing others on 9/11 during a memorial ceremony at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. Smith and other members of the 51st CES FES took turns reading each of the 412 names as the ceremony ended. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Devon Smith, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron fire and emergency services flight lead firefighter, reads the names of emergency responders who gave their lives rescuing others on 9/11 during a memorial ceremony at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. Smith and other members of the 51st CES FES took turns reading each of the 412 names as the ceremony ended. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Krystopher Morgan, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron fire and emergency services flight lead firefighter, sounds a bell during a 9/11 memorial ceremony at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. Sounding the four fives is a custom in which a bell is struck five times, in four series, to announce the death of a firefighter in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Krystopher Morgan, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron fire and emergency services flight lead firefighter, sounds a bell during a 9/11 memorial ceremony at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. Sounding the four fives is a custom in which a bell is struck five times, in four series, to announce the death of a firefighter in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

The 51st Civil Engineer Squadron fire and emergency services flight hosted a 9/11 memorial ceremony at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. The ceremony was followed by a memorial stair climb, in which participants climbed Seoraksan Tower’s seven flights of stairs 16 times to honor the 110 stories climbed by first responders on 9/11. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

The 51st Civil Engineer Squadron fire and emergency services flight hosted a 9/11 memorial ceremony at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. The ceremony was followed by a memorial stair climb, in which participants climbed Seoraksan Tower’s seven flights of stairs 16 times to honor the 110 stories climbed by first responders on 9/11. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Fryar, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron commander, gives a speech during the 9/11 memorial ceremony held at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. Fryar spoke of his own experience on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 and in the armed forces, and the lives of fellow service members that gave their lives during the war on terrorism. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Fryar, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron commander, gives a speech during the 9/11 memorial ceremony held at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. Fryar spoke of his own experience on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 and in the armed forces, and the lives of fellow service members that gave their lives during the war on terrorism. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S Airmen with the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron honor guard present the colors during a 9/11 memorial ceremony at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. The ceremony was held to honor the 412 first responders who lost their lives rescuing others at the World Trade Center in New York City. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S Airmen with the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron honor guard present the colors during a 9/11 memorial ceremony at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. The ceremony was held to honor the 412 first responders who lost their lives rescuing others at the World Trade Center in New York City. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force firefighters with the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron walk up a flight of stairs during a 9/11 memorial stair climb at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. The stair climb was intended to honor those emergency responders who gave their lives saving others at the World Trade Center in New York City. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

U.S. Air Force firefighters with the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron walk up a flight of stairs during a 9/11 memorial stair climb at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2018. The stair climb was intended to honor those emergency responders who gave their lives saving others at the World Trade Center in New York City. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The 51st Civil Engineer Squadron fire and emergency services flight hosted a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Osan Air Base Fire Department followed by a stair climb at Seoraksan Tower here, Sept. 11, 2018.

Both events were held in honor of those who lost their lives during the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, Sept. 11, 2001.

“I remember being rudely awoken by my roommate right before 9 a.m. on Sept. 11,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Fryar, 51st CES commander and the event’s guest speaker. “I got the TV on just before 9:03 a.m., and was able to watch a second plane impact the south tower. At that time I don’t think we understood the impact of what we saw, but as the events played out over the next few days a picture was being painted that would end up being life changing.”

During the ceremony, a member of the 51st CES FES rendered honors in a custom known as striking the four fives. The practice includes ringing a bell five times, repeated four times with a slight pause between each series. This signifies a firefighter has died in the line of duty, or an important official or personage died. This tradition is thought to have been performed as long ago as 1865 to announce the death of President Abraham Lincoln.

Finally, as the ceremony closed, members of the 51st CES FES read out the names of the 412 emergency responders who gave their lives to save others 17 years ago.

After the ceremony ended, guests were invited to take part in a stair climb at Seoraksan Tower to commemorate the 110 stories emergency responders climbed in order to rescue people inside the twin towers. Because Seoraksan Tower only has eight stories, participants made 16 laps, climbing seven stories each time to reach a total of 112 stories.

“This gives everyone a chance to see what they were feeling as they were going up those 110 flights of stairs to reach the victims that needed their help,” said Staff Sgt. Devon Smith, 51st CES FES lead firefighter. “It’s significant to us because that’s the same thing we do – we’re willing to sacrifice, so that others can live. We make every effort we can to bring everybody home, but at the end of the day we’re prepared to do what’s necessary to help other people survive.”

The ceremony and memorial stair climb were attended by Airmen and families from across the base, including young children, who were welcome to attend the event in effort to educate the next generation and ensure we never forget the sacrifices made that day.