Three-year-old Trenton Hogge wasn't even a thought during the 9/11 terrorist attacks 18 years ago.

In fact, his dad, Bobby Hogge, was just 11 years old and at homeschool with his mom when two planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.

"I was at home doing school work and my grandma called the house and told my mom to turn the TV on because there was a good history lesson on," he said. "At that point, when we turned it on only one plane had hit the tower and maybe three minutes later, the second plane hit, and the rest ensued."

Over 3,000 people died that day, including 343 first-responders who ran toward the disaster in hopes of saving lives.

Wednesday, Hopkinsville Fire Department hosted a 9/11 remembrance ceremony and stair climb in honor of the 343.

Local firefighters, including Hogge who has been with the department for almost two years, climbed five flights of stairs inside the HFD training tower to retrieve 343 cards with the name, rank and assignment of each first-responder who died.

Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks also suited up for the climb and the rang the bell as he read each name along with local firefighters.

Prior to going up the tower, the mayor was the keynote speaker for the ceremony. He focused on not just the 343, but the thousands who have died or been injured in the war following 9/11.

"They all have sacrificed so we can enjoy our freedoms," Hendricks said, noting their willingness to "stand up, step forward to sacrifice one's body and life for country, community and fellow man and woman."

He then challenged everyone to thank first-responders who are still here doing that job every day.

HFD Interim Fire Chief Steve Futrell told the crowd Wednesday that he had been on the department for two years during 9/11.

"I was as green as you could get," Futrell said. "At that time, I had no comprehension of what those men and women were willing to sacrifice. The buildings were entered, the stairs were climbed without hesitation, and still we remember.

"So we climb," Futrell continued. "We climb so that every firefighter can have a chance to honor those brave men and women. Some of our firefighters who will climb today were less than 4 years old when the towers fell, and, in coming years, we will hire firefighters who were not born yet when the attack occured, but still we will remember."

Dressed in full gear among his fellow firefighters, Hogge grabbed his 3-year-old son's hand and ran into the tower. Minutes later the pair came down, with Trenton leading the way out.

Hogge said he hoped climbing those 56 stairs would help the youngster respect the sacrifice of firefighters that came before him and his dad.

"This is really just a small token of what they did and a way to remember," Hogge said of the climb. "For (Trenton), he wasn't alive to experience it, so I kind of want to share what I felt and try and bring him up so that he can kind of remember what he doesn't remember, so that it's vivid to him."

Reach Zirconia Alleyne at 270-887-3243 or zalleyne@kentuckynewera.com.

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