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Twenty-one years ago, on September 11, 2001, our nation experienced the greatest terrorist attack on American soil. People across the country watched as the World Trade Center collapsed, a flight to Washington DC was hijacked and sent to the Pentagon, and 44 innocent people perished in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. That same day, I lost my brother, firefighter Stephen Siller. A total of 2,977 human beings perished at the hands of hatred.
To this day, many are still haunted by the tragedy of 9/11. Those suffering from post-9/11 illnesses, the 7,000 military families who have lost loved ones in the war on terror, and families like mine, whose loved ones have answered the call as as first responders on 9/11. We are all still dealing with the devastation of that fateful day.
It is important to recognize that the heroism displayed that day was nothing short of incredible. As we reflect on the 21 years since September 11, 2001, we must remember the incredible sacrifices made by ordinary people who died as heroes.
HOW ARE SCHOOLS TEACHING 9/11 21 YEARS LATER?
We remember Gene Raggio, a Port Authority supervisor known as the Mayor of the Twin Towers, who survived the 1993 World Trade Center attack and sacrificed his life to save others. September 11th.
We remember NYPD officer Moira Smith, who was in the south tower helping people evacuate, repeating over and over, “Don’t look, keep moving, keep moving!” It is not known how many people she saved.
We remember the man in the red bandana, Welles Crowther, who saved countless lives on what should have been a normal working day. He was no firefighter, he was no policeman, but like so many others that day, he made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of others.
We remember Todd Beamer and the other brave passengers of Flight 93, who valiantly fought off the hijackers before they crashed in Shanksville. We promise to never forget Todd’s last words, “Let’s roll!” or the immense bravery he displayed in his final moments.
We remember FDNY Battalion Chief Orio Palmer, along with his band of brothers, who went to the 78th floor of the South Tower, to help evacuate civilians, giving up their lives in the process.
We remember my brother, FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller, who strapped 60 pounds of gear onto his back and rode through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Towers, where he gave his life while saving others, leaving behind his wife and five children.
We remember those who were on the job every day, looking for my brother, for their brothers. The heroes who worked so long at Ground Zero and watched their rescue missions evolve into recovery missions still suffer. From there, they developed illnesses linked to toxin exposure, which continue to affect thousands of people every day.
These brave men and women willingly ran into the fire, crawled through twisted steel and rubble, and fought for our freedoms abroad, and for that we will ensure their legacy is not forgotten. .
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Every year, without fail, their names are read aloud to remember the sacrifices they have made. The reading of names is a tradition that will continue long after we are gone, as our duty to never forget is in progress and our work will never be finished.
There is a quote sometimes attributed to Ernest Hemingway which says, “Every man has two deaths, when he is buried in the ground and the last time anyone speaks his name. In some ways men can be immortal.” This sentiment represents what the Tunnel to Towers Foundation is all about. We work tirelessly every day to ensure that those who lost their lives on 9/11, the men and women who lost their lives fighting for our freedoms every day since, and those who suffer or die from 9/11 illness. , are immortalized. It is our primary responsibility to ensure that their names are never forgotten and that their memory lives on through the work we do.
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In the face of adversity, the American people have come together to support and love each other. From this tragedy was born the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. We operate on the belief that while we are here, with whatever time we have left, it is our responsibility to help others. As Saint Francis of Assisi said: “Brothers, while we have time, do good.