MACON, Ill. (WAND) - On the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, many Americans are remembering those who lost their lives.

At Meridian High School in Macon, students spent their physical education classes paying tribute to 9/11's first responders by climbing 110 flights of stairs.

The stairs represent the 110 stories of the Twin Towers destroyed in New York City on 9/11. The exercise is meant to show students the challenges that first responders faced on that day.

Most of our kids, pretty much of all of them, werent even born yet when this happened," said P.E. teacher Micah Sheppard. "And so all they see are videos and hear stories. This is a way for us to kind of give them a little bit more insight (into the) men and women that went in there, not knowing what they were going into, or if they would come out, and they were just doing their job.

The idea came from Sheppard's fellow P.E. teacher Kirsten Durflinger, who wanted to do something special for 9/11. During P.E. class, Sheppard's students repeatedly ascended and descended the gym's bleachers, while Durflinger's students climbed an adjacent stairwell. The two teachers said they hope the exercise gives the students a better appreciation of one of the most important days in modern American history.

If you werent there firsthand, its hard to truly understand the importance of that days events," Sheppard said. "And the lives that were impacted by that, and are continued to be impacted by that ... the lasting effect that it still has on our country today.