LOWER MANHATTAN — It was a beautiful day for a beautiful event.
More than 30,000 people participated in the annual Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers run this year.
The spirit is still so strong 17 years after the original tunnel to Towers run.
“On 9-11, we lost a lot of firefighters and police,” Ephraim Santiago, a member of Air Force Unit 514 and the NYPD told PIX11.
“If we don’t do this, the memory disappears. We love our country and taking care of our people,” Santiago added.
The run is held every year in memory of all those who died on Sept. 11, especially the 343 firefighters including Rosemary Cain’s son, George.
“Today’s run is testimony of the love and spirit that has come to New York for the past 17 years,” Rosemary Cain told PIX11.
“It shows that goodness and love prevails as it always does,” she added.
The 5K follows the steps of firefighter Stephen Siller, who was on his way home from work that day when he turned back around, strapped 60 pounds of gear on his back and ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers, an especially poignant sacrifice that a new member of the FDNY wanted to honor.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be a firefighter,” Timothy Caraballoso, an FDNY Member told PIX11.
“To follow in the footsteps of someone so well known as him, it means a lot to me,” the firefighter added.
To many, the actual running of this 5k wasn’t the toughest part.
“I thought the tough part was going to be running through the tunnel,” Caroline Maring, a runner from Brooklyn, told PIX11.
“But seeing the names of the firefighters, that really broke my heart,” she added, fighting back tears.