On Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people died in the horrific terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Of them, 343 were firefighters who ran into the burning buildings, prepared to climb 110 flights.

To put it into perspective, that's 2,200 steps with 85 pounds of equipment and clothing.

That's a little over two miles with almost 100 extra pounds on your back. Let that settle in for a minute.

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The highest floor the brave firefighters were able to reach was the 78th on the south tower, led by Battalion Chief Orio Palmer of the New York City Fire Department. Palmer heroically gave his life to save others trapped inside the collapsing building.

For most of us, at least these days, Sept. 11 is honored once a year. In reality, it should be a lot more than just a day. Memorials, museums and tributes keep the spirit of the World Trade Center and all who have perished alive.

I, on the other hand, remember the infamy a different way: by climbing stairs weekly.

My gym has a stair climber that I utilize once a week, normally on Mondays. For the past year, I've trained and climbed the 110 steps, and can now reach the top in just over 22 minutes. When I first started, it took me almost 40 minutes to complete. Regardless, this is done without the extra weight. I couldn't imagine the pain and exhaustion of carrying an extra 85 pounds along the way. Especially since my legs are jelly by the time the workout is finished.

Gazelle/Townsquare Media
Gazelle/Townsquare Media

It's hard to put into perspective what these brave men and women firefighters went through alongside every other first responder.

It's heartbreaking. This is why I do it -- to keep the memory of the fallen alive in hopes that someday I'll be able to complete the exercise with the same weight they carried thousands of steps just to meet a horrific fate.

If you're interested in being a part of a great organization and cause, then do the homework and check out the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, which gives access to and information about every stair-climbing event nationwide.

May we never forget.

NEVER FORGET: Images from 9/11 and the days after

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