Many brave firefighters and first responders lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks 20 years ago. One man walked 500 miles to honor his firefighter brother, all the way from the Pentagon to Ground Zero.
Frank Siller completed his “Never Forget” 500-mile walk this morning. He exited the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and arrived at FDNY Ten House, right across the street from the World Trade Center. Speaking to The New York Post, Siller recalls 9/11. “You know, 911 was so surreal. Twenty years ago, it hovers like you were in a dream.”
Frank Siller honors his brother, Stephen, with more than his walk, however. He created the Tunnels to Towers Foundation, named for the path Stephen took as he ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the twin towers shortly after the attacks. The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run & Walk retraces Stephen’s steps. It also is one of the most popular 5K races in the country. In 2019 alone, more than 30,000 people participated.
After his walk this morning, Frank sadly remembers that faithful day 20 years ago. “When the South Tower came down, I remember turning to my mother-in-law who was in my house and I said, I think I just lost my brother. I didn’t know how he got there that day, but I knew my brother, I knew he would find a way.” Though Stephen hasn’t been recovered, Frank suspects he was in the South Tower.
Frank wanted to do more for his brother this year, prompting his 500-mile trek. Along the way, he was joined by members of different firehouses and first responders. He said he never stopped thinking of his brother during the journey. “The 500 miles, I think of my brother every single day.”
9/11 Pentagon Survivor Recalls Realizing U.S. Was Under ‘Deliberate’ Attack
Serving as a public affairs officer at the Pentagon 20 years ago, Major Ryan Yantis recalls the horror when he realized the United States was under “deliberate” attack. “Death, devastation and ruin everywhere.”
The New York Post interviewed Yantis yesterday ahead of 9/11’s anniversary. After the second attack, he knew America was under siege. “When the second one hit there was no doubt in my mind this was a deliberate terrorist attack on America.” Despite that, Yantis still had something to do. Around 9:30 AM, he was to escort a senior officer to a meeting elsewhere in the building. The senior officer, however, couldn’t remember where the meeting was supposed to take place.
“We stopped in Corridor 4 and we got into a bit of a heated argument over where the meeting was going to be,” Yantis said. “The Pentagon had been attacked between Corridors 4 and 5.” Yantis speculates if the officers had been on time, “we both would’ve been right at the center of the impact and probably severely injured or killed.”
Their argument becoming a blessing in disguise, the two officers quickly exited upon seeing smoke coming around a corner.