On September 11, 2001, firefighter Stephen Siller had just finished his shift with Brooklyn’s Squad 1 and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he got word over his scanner of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
As he heard the news, Stephen called his wife Sally and asked her to tell his brothers he’d catch up with them later, and returned to Squad 1 to gear up.
Stephen drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it had already been closed. Determined to carry out his duty, Stephen strapped on 60 lbs. of gear, and raced on foot from the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he ultimately gave the ultimate sacrifice in his service to others.
Siller was one of 412 emergency workers who lost his life on that day among the total number of 2,977 killed.
But here's a sobering thought: Not a single high school student in America today was alive when the nation was attacked on 9/11/2001.
We must ensure this generation never forgets.
The attacks continue to claim victims among the first responder community. The collapse of the towers and other buildings around Ground Zero generated huge amounts of toxic dust, debris and ash, filling the air with toxic materials such as asbestos, lead and mercury. Many first responders did not wear respirators.
A 2018 report claimed at least 15 FBI agents had died from cancer as a result of their roles in the aftermath of the attack. The same year, The World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital reported that of the 10,000 first responders and others who were at Ground Zero, more than 2,000 have died due to 9/11 related illness.
And then the U.S. went into Afghanistan. We lost just over 2,300 warfighters in the 20-year Operation Enduring Freedom. Over 20,000 wounded.
Stephen Siller’s brother Frank is working to ensure our nation never forgets. Frank, along with his brothers, created the Tunnel to Towers Foundation in memory of his brother’s sacrifice, with the mission to honor all military and first responders who continue to make the supreme sacrifice of life and limb for our country.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation supports three major programs:
Mortgage-free smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans and first responders.
Each home is custom-designed for the unique needs of each recipient. Smart homes include features such as automated doors and lighting, wider halls and doorways, special showers to accommodate wheelchairs, automatic door openers, cabinets, counters, and stove tops that can be raised and lowered, back-up generators, and central heating and air conditioning systems that can be controlled by tablets. These homes help severely injured veterans and first responders to reclaim their day-to-day independence.
Fallen First Responder mortgage pay-off.
Tunnel to Towers pays off the mortgages of law enforcement officers and firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty, or to 9/11 related illness, leaving behind young children. The Foundation’s goal is to ensure stability and security for these families facing sudden, tragic loss.
Gold Star Family Home Program
Launched in September 2018, this program honors the legacy of those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. The Foundation provides mortgage-free homes to surviving spouses with young children.
To date, Tunnel to Towers has provided over 400 mortgage-free homes.
We at Nine Line are proud to partner with Tunnel to Towers as we approach the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of this special commemorative design will go to support Tunnel to Towers.
With this design, we hope to instill a sense of American pride in our strength and resilience to rise as one nation from the ashes of tragedy. We will NEVER forget the events that took place the morning of September 11, 2001, or the courageous heroes who gave everything they had and more when they were needed most.
Help us give back and keep alive the memories of those we lost with this special limited edition: For Men Never Die Until They are Forgotten.