Fresno Fire asking for public to join tribute for firefighters killed on 9/11

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In just three weeks, the nation will commemorate the solemn 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed almost 3,000 people on American soil.

While there will be many tributes and ceremonies across the Valley to honor those who died, the Fresno Fire Department has its own way of honoring the firefighters who never made it home.

Fire Capt. Joella Garcia says the year after the September 11 attacks, firefighters started a burpee challenge: 343 burpees for the 343 firefighters who died while rushing in to save people as New York's Twin Towers collapsed.

This year, as the 20th anniversary approaches, firefighters are asking for 343 volunteers from across the Valley to come forward and take part in the grueling challenge.

"I don't want this to go in the history book where we look in the book and we go, oh, that happened," Garcia said. "We can't. This is the single most traumatic event that has ever happened to firefighters, police, first responders, our citizens in this country as a whole. We need to remember it. We need to remember the pain. That is why the 343 burpees is so incredibly important -- because they absolutely suck!"

Capt. Garcia is also calling out other local fire and police agencies to take part in the challenge.

Money raised from the event will go directly to the "Fallen Firefighter Fund."

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