#September11 Remembering Stephen Siller: A Hero’s Last Run

#September11 Remembering Stephen Siller: A Hero’s Last Run

#September11 Remembering Stephen Siller: A Hero’s Last Run

g224254_u71409_stephen1Firefighter Stephen Gerard Siller was one of many heroes to give his life on September 11, 2001. His bravery and dedication to his city and his duty is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read, and he makes me so proud to be an American because his courage in the face of unimaginable terror is what makes Americans so exceptional in this world of darkness and depravity.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Siller had just gotten off of the late shift at Squad 1, Park Slope, Brooklyn, when he heard on his scanner about the first plane hitting the towers. He had plans to go play golf with his brothers, but he immediately called his wife, Sally, and asked her to call them and tell them he would catch up with them later. He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear.

After picking up his gear, he drove his truck to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it was already closed. He put on his 60 lbs. of gear, rushed through the tunnel on foot, and then ran from the Tunnel to the Towers, where he died in service to his city and his country.

Stephen’s story doesn’t end at his death. Siller’s family created the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation, and unlike so many charities, nearly 91 cents of every dollar goes to programs and initiatives that were close to Siller’s heart, like Stephen’s House of the New York Foundling, a residential home that provides a temporary haven for orphaned and/or broken teenagers.

The best known event in his name is the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower 5k Walk and Run, an event that is held every year in September in New York City, and now around the country, to remember the service and sacrifice of one of our nation’s heroes, a man who rose above duty.

Firefighters running in the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers 5k.
Firefighters running in the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers 5k.

Each year firefighters run this memorial 5k in honor of their fallen brother. To look for an event near you, you can check out the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers 5k Run and Walk series here. While my husband was in Afghanistan in 2011, I was living in the city where a Tunnel To Towers event was held, and it was an exceptional sight to see so many firefighters, law enforcement officers, civilians, and service members running in this event together. I am grateful to heroes like Stephen Siller who ran into the Towers to help those trying to run out of them.

Author and family friend Jay Price wrote, “Every momentous event, even a tragedy, has its symbolic figures. September 11th was no different; it just had a few more of them. Rudy Giuliani, Father Mychal Judge, the four guys on United Flight 9… a hundred more… a thousand. None bigger than Stephen Siller, whose stature only grows with time as New Yorkers and people from around the world follow his footsteps.”

We thank you, Stephen Siller, and men like you, who go about the business of keeping Americans safe on an everyday basis, but then rise to an even more exceptional level of bravery in the face or terror and hatred. May God bless you and your families, and like President Bush said after the events of 9/11, may God continue to bless America.

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