UA to Honor Victims of 9/11 Attacks with Stair Climb

  • September 4th, 2019
Firefighters walking down stairs
Firefighters descend stairs inside Coleman Coliseum during the 2018 9/11 Stair Climb.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ­— Nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

To honor their memories, The University of Alabama Police Department and the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs will host a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb Wednesday, Sept. 11, from 8-11 a.m. in Coleman Coliseum.

First responders, military veterans and their family support groups will participate in the stair climb that will wind its way through Coleman Coliseum, according to UAPD Sgt. Rachel Grooms.

“It’s the equivalent of 110 flights of stairs, which is supposed to be the equivalent of the World Trade Center,” Grooms said. “It’s 8 ½ laps of Coleman Coliseum, so 110 flights up and 110 flights down.”

Started by five Colorado firefighters in 2005, memorial stair climbs have grown in popularity and are now held throughout the U.S., according to the National Fallen Firefighters website. Grooms, whose father was a firefighter, started the stair climb at UA in 2018.

“For me, when I found out about the stair climbs, I wanted to create something like that here in Tuscaloosa,” Grooms said. “Last year, we had roughly 97 participants, and we’re shooting for a minimum of 300 to 500 participants this year.”

Like many, Grooms remembers exactly what she was doing when she received word of the attacks on the twin towers in New York.  She was between classes at Shelton State Community College when panic erupted in the hallways.

“There were some nearby classrooms with computers that were open to students,” she said. “Pretty much everyone who thought about it ran in there and tried to look on the computer about what was happening. It’s definitely something I won’t forget.”

Grooms’ brother was on a plane headed for Boston at the time of the attacks. She said her family didn’t know where he was for several hours.

She said it’s very important to her to preserve the memory of what happened on 9/11.

“It’s a time that we came together, our country came together,” Grooms said. “I feel it’s very important that we continue to remember that because there are students that we have here that don’t know about it or it didn’t really affect or impact them in a sense that they are even aware of. I think it’s something in our history that we need to make sure we honor and remember.”

The public is invited to watch as the solemn event takes place.


Rachel Grooms,, 205-348-5454


Shane Dorrill, UA communications,, 205-348-8319

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.