Thousands turned out in lower Manhattan on a rainy Sunday morning on September 28 to remember relatives and friends lost on September 11, and to retrace the final steps of Stephen Siller, a firefighter from Brooklyn.
Siller, of Squad 1 in Park Slope, was off-duty when he strapped on 60 pounds of gear and walked to Manhattan through the Battery Tunnel to West and Liberty Streets, where he was last seen.
Some 4,000 runners retraced the firefighter’s last steps, in the second annual Tunnel to Towers Run from Battery Park to Ground Zero and back.
Dan McKay, a 24-year-old firefighter from Hollywood, Florida, won the race. McKay, quoted in the New York Daily News, said, “This was something I had to be a part of.”
The $30 entrance fees went to the firefighter burn center and the Stephen Siller “Let Us Do Good For The Children’s Foundation,” which was set up for children who lost parents on September 11.
“I was almost crying through the tunnel,” said second-place finisher Ken Bonham from Brooklyn’s Ladder 106. “There were guys on the left holding flags, one for every guy we lost.”
Some of those marching behind bag-pipes from Battery Park said they hoped that officials would preserve the socalled footprints of the World Trade Center in the rebuilding.
“You can have the rest, just give us that,” said Florence Staub, 60, of the Bronx, whose 30-year-old son, Craig, died in the attacks.
For Siller’s 36-year-old widow, Sally, and his five children, the five-kilometer race is a way to remember Siller’s last act. “The kids can see that their father is a hero,” Mrs. Siller told the News. ♦