On September 11, 2020, the 19th anniversary of the attacks on both the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Frank Siller, Chairman and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation took the stage in NYC and made one thing clear: “it is, and will always be important, to SAY THEIR NAMES.”
Many lost loved ones on September 11, 2001 – the Siller Family lost their youngest brother, Stephen, a FDNY Firefighter assigned to Squad 1 in Brooklyn. “Many others lost people dear to them – fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters and family and friends,” said Frank Siller, during the Foundation’s live Reading of the Names ceremony. “We were very close to forgetting the impact 9/11 had on our nation. Tunnel to Towers will never let that happen.”
After the cancellation of both the Reading of the Names ceremony and Tribute in Light, Tunnel to Towers stepped in to ensure these traditions continued and that 9/11 would never be forgotten.
Although the decision to cancel the annual Tribute in Light was reverse, Tunnel to Towers expanded the remembrance by bringing the Foundation’s first “Towers of Light” ceremonies to both the Pentagon and the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA – the first time ceremonies such as these have ever been held in remembrance at these sites. After the near-cancellation, Tunnel to Towers felt more had to be done this year to remind us all of the importance of that day.
In that same promise to uphold remembrance, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation continued the hallowed tradition of reading the names of the 2,977 fallen lost on September 11, 2001 across from Ground Zero in NYC. Every year, we honor those we’ve lost. This year, it fell to Tunnel to Towers to ensure the safety of the readers and facilitate the only live Reading of the Names.
Due to COVID-19, the annual Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk NYC was cancelled this year. In a final act of remebrance, Tunnel to Towers quickly adapted and found a way to honor the fallen. The Foundation launched the #T2TNEVERFORGET Virtual Challenge – a way for the annual 5K Run & Walk to live on in spirit. Thousands of participants across the country joined to honor those we’ve lost on September 11, 2001 in their own way – biking, walking, working out and everything in between.
September 11, 2001 shaped our nation and it is the reason the Tunnel to Towers Foundation was created. Our mission to DO GOOD lives alongside the promise to NEVER FORGET. These sentiments go hand in hand, and we here at the Foundation consider it a responsibility to continue doing them both.