NEW YORK — For the past six weeks, traveling through six states, Frank Siller has trekked over 500 miles on foot from the nation’s capital to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and finally the 68-year-old is expected to arrive at his brother’s final resting place on the 20th anniversary of his death.
“We have to always make sure the first thing we do is never forget the sacrifice made 20 years ago,” Siller said. “I’ll be following my brother’s footsteps, walking through the [Hugh Carey] Battery Tunnel, coming through it as the sun is rising on the other side.”
The 42-day long “Never Forget Walk” began on Aug. 1 in Washington, D.C., followed by a somber wreath laying at the Pentagon with Siller’s family.
The solemn journey winding around the Blue Hills of Virginia through the farms of Pennsylvania and to the hallowed crash site of Flight 93. Siller is not alone on this marathon to Lower Manhattan.
“I’m walking with NYC firefighters and police officers from all over the country. The Navy SEALs said they wanted to carry me. I said, ‘no no no just come with me,” Siller joked.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers foundation was born in memory of his brother.
Stephen Siller heroically ran through the battery tunnel after his firefighting shift on Sept. 11, 2001, with 60 pounds of gear on his back. He selflessly joined his squad, saving lives in the South Tower. The young father of five was never seen again.
“No…Stephen was never recovered. This is his burial ground. This is where his spirit lies and where he made a great sacrifice so other people could live, he gave up his life.”
Tunnel to Towers has given light and life to families in darkness. Roughly $250 million has been raised and has provided housing for 450 families of fallen first responders and wounded military members.
The foundation carries out Stephen Siller’s legacy through how he lived his life.
“Our last words were ‘I’ll see you tomorrow,’” Frank Siller recalled. “You don’t know what tomorrow brings and [Stephen Siller] knew that every day was precious and lived every day full.”