Brother of fallen FDNY firefighter begins 500 mile remembrance walk

Published: Aug. 1, 2021 at 2:31 PM EDT

ARLINGTON, Va. (Gray DC) - In just over a month, the United States will mark the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. On Sunday, Frank Siller started walking from D.C. to New York to commemorate the anniversary.

Siller began the morning by laying a wreath just feet away from where American Airlines flight 77 hit the Pentagon on 9/11, killing 184 people.

Silller, the Chairman and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, said, “It’s very emotional. I think about my brother, of course. I think about the innocent lives that were lost here at the Pentagon.”

It’s Siller’s first stop on a more than 500 mile journey to remember the lives lost -- including his brother, Stephen -- a firefighter who died at the World Trade Center. Stephen Siller famously ran through the tunnel from Brooklyn to Manhattan with his equipment on.

Frank Siller said, “He gave up his life while saving others.”

Over the next 42 days, Frank Siller will walk from the Pentagon, through Shanksville, Pa,, to the site where the World Trade Center stood in New York City.

Siller said, “The were so many acts of heroism that day that have to be told. Some have been told…and some have not yet been told. And I think that it’s important that the parents who are listening to this today -- that you speak to your children and tell them about the story of 9/11.”

Others are joining Siller on what’s being called the Never Forget Walk. Flint Hill, Va. volunteer firefighter Duane Prather explained why he’s walking the first 12 miles with Siller while carrying an oxygen tank on his back.

Prather said, “The extra weight kind of gives you a reminder of the extra burden and the weight that everybody carried going that day. The families that lost that will never be able to have that back.”

Whether it’s the stories of bravery, or the thousands of lives lost — Frank Siller wants to make sure September 11, 2001 is never forgotten.

Siller’s organization, Tunnel to the Towers, works to pay off the mortgages or provide homes to the families of fallen first responders. That includes those who died on the day of the terrorist attacked, and more recently, those who have died from related illnesses.

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