SACRAMENTO — Events across the nation Tuesday honored the victims and heroes of 9/11, 17 years after the attacks.
Two of the larger events in Sacramento are the Freedom Climb at Renaissance Tower downtown and the 9/11 Memorial at Cal Expo.
Sacramento firefighter Eric Guida got ready for his climb with his brothers and sisters from fire departments all around Northern California.
It was a tough day for him. Not only is Guida carrying the name of Bridgeport, Connecticut firefighter Dana Hannon, who was killed on 9/11, but he was part of California's Task Force 7 that went to New York just two days after the attack.
"It was surreal. Anybody who was there will tell you," Guida said. "I like to describe it as the Grand Canyon but instead of rocks it was steel and concrete."
With each step, the firefighters honored those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It's something Guida wants the newer class of firefighters to remember.
"We talk about it just because a lot of them were infants when it happened. It's 17 years ago," he said.
Firefighters climbed 110 floors in full turnouts to place the names of the 343 firefighters who were killed. Each time a name is set down, a bell is rung. It's a sacrifice Guida and his brothers and sisters use as inspiration, not just one day a year.
"It happened to happen in New York but had it happened in Wisconsin, San Francisco, L.A., anywhere, I think you would see the same thing and it's just what we are trained to do," Guida told FOX40.
Memorial at Cal Expo
A 125,000-pound beam from the wreckage of the north tower of the World Trade Center sits in the middle of Cal Expo, surrounded by tributes to the thousands of innocent lives lost on 9/11.
"The memorial as a whole is just really awe-inspiring," Cameron Park firefighter Duke Juanitas said.
The names of every person who died inside the twin towers are etched into a floating sphere at the center of the plaza. There are also tributes to the passengers on American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93, which crash-landed in a field in Pennsylvania after its passengers retook the plane from the hijackers.
"It's important to never forget," Juanitas said. "We made sure we don't forget and to pass that information on to our little ones."
The memorial is maintained by a non-profit that relies on donations to keep it in shape. Information on how to donate can be mailed to:
California State Fair Memorial Plaza Foundation
Bank of the West
500 Capitol Mall suite 1200
Sacramento, Calif. 95814
Or by phone at 916-263-3000
Tax ID: 01-0791603