NEW ORLEANS — As people across the United States remember the September 11 attacks, communities in Southeast Louisiana paused to honor the lives of those lost 18 years ago.

A group of local firefighters spent Wednesday climbing 110 flights of stairs at Poydras Tower to pay tribute to the hundreds of first responders who paid the ultimate price while trying to save lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

Those firefighters also took time to remember fallen heroes here in Southeast Louisiana.

Their climb began at 8:46 a.m., the same time when the first hijacked plane struck the north tower of the World Trade Center. They climbed dressed in full gear with AIRVACS on their backs which can easily weigh up to 40 pounds. But they didn't mind the weight.

Wednesday's climb was personal for many firefighters, who said they could only imagine what their brothers and sisters went through that day.

"I got calls from four of my very close friends who were actually there at 9/11, just wishing me luck to bring their brothers to the top. So, it means the world that they're thinking about me to honor their brothers," Neil Navarro said. "And it's an honor for me to represent what we're doing in New Orleans to honor them."

In total, 343 firefighters, 60 police officers and 8 EMS workers died in the terrorist attack.

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WWL-TV reporter Meghan Kee can be reached at mkee@wwltv.com;

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