Ground zero was recognized from the ground up at Naval Hospital Bremerton.
Staff members took part in a stair climb challenge in a step-by-step homage to those 343 firefighters, eight emergency medical services personnel, 72 law enforcement officers and other first responders who lost their lives responding to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center office towers that fateful day, Sept. 11, 2001.
“I felt that we are having ceremonies every year since 9/11 and slowly drifting away from the true meaning of never forget. Walking those floors, feeling what they felt on that day makes it more than just words. It shows action to remember those we loss,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Adam Toler, Surgical Services leading petty officer, architect of the idea who helped coordinate along with other members of the command’s First Class Petty Officer Association.
The challenge called for participants to ascend up seven lengthy flights of stairs, reverse course back down and repeat the process a total of six times.
Chief Hospital Corpsman Michael Devito finished the hamstring straining and quadricep draining course in 19 minutes and 10 seconds.
“This was awesome,” exclaimed Devito. “Talks and speeches are all well and fine, but actually taking action like this is just more meaningful. We’re not just standing and listening. We’re actually putting ourselves in the shoes of those we’re here remembering for their sacrifice.”
Toler readily affirmed keeping a lasting memory of the impactful date is important.
“There’s a new generation of Sailor who weren’t born when 9/11 occurred,” Toler said. “Telling someone a story about a tragic day instead of them experiencing a small amount of what those first responders went through is not as significant. The hope is those who participate will remember those lost and actually physically be able to feel what they went through.”
There are current staff members currently assigned to NHB who were here on that ill-fated morning.
“I was on shift in the emergency room and watched the horrific events on television as they happened,” shared Capt. Patrick Fitzpatrick, NHB director and Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton commanding officer. “Sept. 11 is the day our world changed forever. In 2001, there was no fence around the hospital. No security check to get on base. Now, every year Americans join together to honor the memory of those who died that day. We shall never forget them, those who went to work that day, unknowingly saying their last goodbyes to loved ones. And those who unselfishly and without hesitation ran to the aid of their fellow citizen. More than 300 first responders perished that day as well.”
The stair climb challenge also correlates with Navy Medicine’s priority of ensuring there is a ready medical force capable of supporting a medically ready force. Part of that operational readiness standard is being physically able to effectively respond to any emergency.
“Our challenge directly supports physical fitness in keeping our warfighters in peak standard. As well as build teamwork and comradery,” said Toler, stressing the hope that those who take part will increase their individual physical fitness and collectively bring the command together to remember those lost.
For Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Michael Collins, halfway through the course wearing his Navy Working Uniform made him realize just how daunting a task it is to stride up – and down – multiple stairwells in a timely fashion.
“My uniform is soaked! Can’t imagine how someone like a firefighter with all their gear on or an EMS carrying equipment can make it happen,” remarked Collins.
Which was exactly what they did 22 years earlier at Ground Zero.
And were remembered from the ground up 22 years later at Naval Hospital Bremerton.
|Date Posted:||09.11.2023 22:34|
|Location:||BREMERTON , WA, US|
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