NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - In grief, in remembrance, in strength, and in love: September 11 has had a profound way of bringing lives together.
Julianne Yotov never got to meet Firefighter Stephen Siller. She wasn't even born when the attacks happened on September 11, 2001. But every day on her way to school she passes Squad One, the firehouse where Siller began his final heroic hours that chaotic morning. That day Siller and so many other first responders risked and gave their lives to save others -- without question.
Julianne's dad Kamen Yotov was new to the country on 9/11. He was a grad student at Cornell. Now so many years later as New Yorkers, the father-daughter team train in the neighborhood together for the annual Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation Tower Climb to the top of One World Observatory.
In 2016, Julianne, 13, finished first in her age group. She and her dad are seasoned tower climbers, having done One Penn Plaza and 30 Rock. But this climb is different for obvious reasons. Not only is it the tallest building in the city, it is also a reminder of what first responders like Siller went through.
The climb is 104 floors, or 2,226 steps, to the finish line.
The team relies on each other to lift themselves up, just as a firehouse, a city, and a nation did out of a dark day in history to serve a higher purpose: helping the families left behind.
On Sunday, with every step no matter how tough it gets, runners and climbers will remember and celebrate the ones who gave it all.