AUSTIN, Texas - Central Texas first responders held memorial events Monday to recognize their brothers and sisters who died rushing to save others 16 years ago.
Under a flag-draped fire truck began a day of somber services for the first responders who lost their lives trying to save others on 9-11.
Austin firefighters rang bells to honor 343 of their New York firefighters who died.
At that same time in Bee Cave Police and Lake Travis Firefighters put on gear and headed up the stairs of a parking garage at the hill country galleria just as those would've who responded to the world trade center 16 years ago.
"It gets me thinking. Just imagine those people out there. They didn't think about you know this might fall, this might do this, they're I'm in and I'm heading up just like they'd always do. To think they didn't get the chance to come back down,” said Lake Travis Firefighter Nick Biagini.
Austin Firefighters started a stair climbing tradition the day after the attack on September 12th, 2001.
"The instructors and the cadets got together and decided they wanted to finish the climb that the New York firefighters didn't,” said AFD Division Chief Palmer Buck.
Now in the 16th year-- several of those same cadets lead others up and down nine flights to equal the height of the towers.
"We do it in silence. Get the guys to have a little kind of introspection about what is going on the sacrifice they made that day the sacrifices we're called upon to make,” said Buck.
Each firefighter carries dog tags bearing the names of those who died.
It is a difficult mission as the weight of the equipment they must wear comes out to 75 pounds.
"You've got your brothers beside you that are climbing beside you. It gets you through and it's for a bigger cause than any of us as individuals,” said AFD firefighter Roger Davis.
Manchaca firefighter Sam Porter participated. Doctors said he wouldn't speak or walk after being involved in a motorcycle crash. But there he was keeping up with those he hopes to once again join on the job.
"It's a brotherhood. It's a bondage,” said Davis.
"These men and women that are climbing up today are kind of renewing that promise that we'll be there whatever the emergency is to protect our city and our country,” said Buck.