HomeNewsArticle Display

Hill teams with local community first responders for 9/11 Ruck March

Staff Sgt. Caleb Saunders (far right), from the 775th Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Department, reads about one of the 9/11 fallen at the Kaysville Fire Station during one of the stops of the 9/11 Memorial Ruck March.

Staff Sgt. Caleb Saunders (far right), from the 775th Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Department, reads about one of the 9/11 fallen at the Kaysville Fire Station during one of the stops of the 9/11 Memorial Ruck March. Members from Hill Air Force Base's 775th Civil Engineering Squadron alongside members of Kaysville and Layton fire and police departments, walk together during the 9/11 Memorial Ruck March, commemorating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This is Hill's 3rd annual ruck march and the first teaming up with first responders from local communities. The march started in Kaysville and ended at Hill Air Force Base South Gate, a total of 9.11 miles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

Members from Hill Air Force Base's 775th Civil Engineering Squadron alongside Kaysville and Layton fire and police Departments, walk together during the 9/11 Memorial Ruck March, commemorating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This is Hill's 3rd annual ruck march and the first teaming up with first responders from local communities. The march started in Kaysville and ended at Hill Air Force Base South Gate, a total of 9.11 miles.

Members from Hill Air Force Base's 775th Civil Engineering Squadron alongside Kaysville and Layton fire and police Departments, walk together during the 9/11 Memorial Ruck March, commemorating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This is Hill's 3rd annual ruck march and its first teaming up with first responders from local communities. The march started in Kaysville and ended at Hill Air Force Base South Gate, a total of 9.11 miles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

Members from Hill Air Force Base's 775th Civil Engineering Squadron alongside members of Kaysville and Layton fire and police departments, walk together during the 9/11 Memorial Ruck March, commemorating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This is Hill's 3rd annual ruck march and the first teaming up with first responders from local communities. The march started in Kaysville and ended at Hill Air Force Base South Gate, a total of 9.11 miles.

Members from Hill Air Force Base's 775th Civil Engineering Squadron alongside members of Kaysville and Layton fire and police departments, walk together during the 9/11 Memorial Ruck March, commemorating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This is Hill's 3rd annual ruck march and the first teaming up with first responders from local communities. The march started in Kaysville and ended at Hill Air Force Base South Gate, a total of 9.11 miles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

Staff Sgt. Caleb Saunders, 775 Civil Engineering Squadron, reads aloud a short story from a 9/11 first responder survivor, Sept. 11, 2018. Military and local first responders came together to pay tribute and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice by participating in the annual 9/11 terrorist attacks Memorial Ruck March. The march started in Kaysville and ended at Hill Air Force Base South Gate, a total of 9.11 miles.

Staff Sgt. Caleb Saunders, 775 Civil Engineering Squadron, reads aloud a short story from a 9/11 first responder survivor, Sept. 11, 2018. Military and local first responders came together to pay tribute and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice by participating in the annual 9/11 terrorist attacks Memorial Ruck March. The march started in Kaysville and ended at Hill Air Force Base South Gate, a total of 9.11 miles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Staff Sgt. Caleb Saunders, 775 Civil Engineering Squadron, walks alongside the Vietnam Memorial wall, at Layton Commons Park, Sept. 11, 2018. Many military and local first responders came together to pay tribute and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice by participating in the annual 9/11 terrorist attacks Memorial Ruck March. The march started in Kaysville and ended at Hill Air Force Base South Gate, a total of 9.11 miles.

Staff Sgt. Caleb Saunders, 775 Civil Engineering Squadron, walks alongside the Vietnam Memorial wall, at Layton Commons Park, Sept. 11, 2018. Many military and local first responders came together to pay tribute and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice by participating in the annual 9/11 terrorist attacks Memorial Ruck March. The march started in Kaysville and ended at Hill Air Force Base South Gate, a total of 9.11 miles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Members from Hill Air Force Base's 775th Civil Engineering Squadron alongside members of Kaysville and Layton fire and police departments, walk together during the 9/11 Memorial Ruck March, commemorating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This is Hill's 3rd annual ruck march and the first teaming up with first responders from local communities. The march started in Kaysville and ended at Hill Air Force Base South Gate, a total of 9.11 miles.

Members from Hill Air Force Base's 775th Civil Engineering Squadron alongside members of Kaysville and Layton fire and police departments, walk together during the 9/11 Memorial Ruck March, commemorating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This is Hill's 3rd annual ruck march and the first teaming up with first responders from local communities. The march started in Kaysville and ended at Hill Air Force Base South Gate, a total of 9.11 miles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --

Seventeen years ago, Sept. 11, 2001, started as any normal Tuesday morning. Then the unthinkable happened: 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes and changed an entire nation forever.

Every year since, United States citizens mark the anniversary, a day now known as Patriot Day, by honoring the 2,983 who were killed during the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania by coming together as a nation through memorial ceremonies, moments of silence, reading names and other ways.

On Sept. 11, members from Hill Air Force Base’s 775th Civil Engineer Squadron, which includes Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Fire Department, and Emergency Management, commemorated the day by organizing, and teaming for the first time with fire and police departments from the nearby cities of Kaysville and Layton, for its 3rd Annual 9/11 Memorial Ruck March.

A ruck march is an event where participants walk or jog with a pack on their backs. Hill’s participants wore heavy backpacks or were fully suited in firefighter gear, giving tribute to the 343 fallen firefighters and 60 police officers who perished during the 9/11 terrorist attacks that occurred at the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City.

“This march brought us all together as emergency responders to remember not to forget the first responders who died on 9/11,” said Kaysville City Fire Department Chief Paul Erickson. “Sixty plus responders from the base, Kaysville, Layton came together today. It was great support from the base EOD, who put this together for the local police and fire departments.”

The march moved off-base this year, starting at the Kaysville 9/11 Memorial in the Utah State University Botanical Gardens and ended at Hill’s South Gate, a route totaling 9.11 miles. The route included a few stops at both Kaysville and Layton’s fire stations and the new Vietnam Memorial Wall in Layton. Each stop, the group gathered to listen to a reading about one of the fallen heroes.

“It was a good time, but it was a consistent uphill climb from Layton to base, making the ruck tough,” said Capt. Nathan Demers, 775th CES EOD range flight commander. “We had great support from the Kaysville and Layton police departments as escorts for the entire route, blocking roads and ensuring overall safety.”

Demers, who organized the event and community involvement, hopes this will become a yearly partnership honoring 9/11. Both Erickson and Demers agreed, despite the painful blisters a few had earned, the march was a great success.

“It’s great for our base emergency responders to interact with downtown emergency responders, because on the darkest day when we may need to work together, we’ll have already built some relationships,” Demers said.