Woodward, Okla. —
CLIMB HAS CHANGED VIEWS ON 9/11
After Foster learned more about the firefighter he climbed for, several of the other Woodward firefighters said they were curious to know more about the men whose names they carried.
"Afterward I went and looked up my guy," said Rogers, who walked for Rescue 3 Firefighter Raymond Meisenheimer. He said knowing more about the man's life "gave the whole thing more meaning, because it felt like you knew the guy."
"I did the same thing," said McDowell, who climbed for Rescue 3 Firefighter Donald Reagan. "I learned that my guy did a bone marrow transplant for a girl he never met."
McDowell said he also learned how Reagan's surviving crew members raised money to fly the girl and her family to New York so that she could attend the funeral of the man who had saved her life with the marrow donation.
Now that they know more about the men who were lost on that fateful day and have in a sense walked in their shoes, the firefighters on Woodward's A Shift said they have a different view when it comes to remembering 9/11.
"Before when you'd think about 9/11 you'd think about the towers and about the planes. Now we're thinking about the people who were just having a normal day when this horrible thing happened," Johannesmeyer said.
Smith said something similar. "I never looked at them as individuals before, just looked at them as a group," he said, noting "it does give you a little perspective, because whoever we walked for, we carried his memory too."
It has also changed how the men view their own careers as firefighters.
"It made you not take the job or life for granted just to know you could come to work any day and not go home and see your family at the end of it," Foster said.