ST. LOUIS – That first step is what will propel you on your journey, wherever that may be in life.

For this group walking, their journey is to the Gateway Arch, and they’re remembering the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

“On the first anniversary of the towers going down, I picked the flag off my porch and started walking down to the Arch by myself,” said Bo Drochelman, March to the Arch founder.

Every year since, Drochelman has been joined by friends and strangers along the way.

On Monday, Drochelman and company began their march at Mike Duffy’s in Town and Country, continuing along Clayton Road into the city. The group stopped for breaks along the way at fire stations and restaurants.

Stephanie Spaniol, a firefighter and paramedic with the Fenton Fire Protection District, was geared up for the 22-mile trek.

“Because it was a hard day for those guys climbing those towers,” she said. “It’s not an easy job. It’s a lot of weight. And I want to keep that in mind the whole time. It was a hard day for them.”

In all, 2,996 people died in the 9/11 attacks. Anyone old enough to remember it will never forget where they were that day.

That’s why this group, with their red, white, and blue flags waving in the air, is winding through St. Louis County and City is here.

They’re compelled to never forget.

“I just think it’s important,” Drochelman said. “Those people that died were in essence my brothers and sisters and I feel for them and those that survived. And one of the great feelings I get when I walk, and we get people honk and wave, and it shows you that the United States is united, and it makes me feel good.”