September 13, 2001, WCPO, 9/11 firefighter's run inspires others, by Brendan Keefe,
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Oops.
NEW YORK - We all watched in horror as the World Trade Center collapsed on live television. George Siller and his brothers were watching, too, and they feared their youngest brother was inside.
"My brother Frank said, 'I think we just lost our brother,'" George Siller said.
Stephen Siller was an FDNY firefighter assigned to Brooklyn's Squad 1. He had just completed a 24-hour tour on the morning of 9/11/01, and he was driving home to Staten Island to play golf with his brothers.
Siller heard the call over the scanner that a plane had struck the north tower of the World Trade Center. There was no way he was going home now -- people were trapped and needed his help.
"We never thought he could make it in time," George said. "We kept saying, there's so much traffic in New York, he's coming from Brooklyn, how's he gonna get there? We didn’t know he'd run through the tunnel. It just shows you how determined he was and how dedicated he was."
Stephen returned to his Brooklyn firehouse to find the truck and its fresh shift of firefighters had already left. He quickly suited up in his turn-out gear and drove straight for the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.
After the second plane hit the World Trade Center, all tunnels and bridges leading into Manhattan were shut down. Not even a firefighter in his personal car would be allowed through.
Next the father of five made a decision that would end his life, but a choice that is symbolic of all first responders that day, particularly the 343 firefighters who would die when the towers collapsed.
Stephen got out of his truck and ran into the 1.7 mile tunnel, carrying the full weight of more than 75 pounds worth of gear.
He jumped over cars stuck in the tunnel, and even boarded another fire truck that was heading toward the disaster. Witnesses say he told his fellow firefighters the truck was moving too slowly, so he jumped off and continued on foot, yelling, "I'll beat you guys there!"
Stephen Siller was last seen at the corner of West Street and Liberty Street, the southwest corner of the World Trade Center site. No remains were ever found.
The older Siller brothers had raised Stephen, who was just a child when their parents died.
"You gotta be kidding me, he had to grow up without parents and now his kids have to grow up without a dad? It's just not right," said his brother George.
The brothers decided to do something in Stephen's honor. They thought of a golf outing or some kind of charity benefit. The a family friend suggested a run through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, retracing Stephen's footsteps.
The Tunnel to Towers race is held every year in New York. Many firefighters run through the tunnel in their bunker gear, just like Stephen did 10 years ago.
"Two nights before 9/11 Stephen and I were watching Band of Brothers," George remembered. "We’re sitting there watching it and turn to him and say, 'Steve, they just don’t make heroes like that anymore. Those days are gone.' Well he proved me wrong two days later.”
Now there are Tunnel to Towers races in more than 50 cities around the nation, and across the globe.
"We’ve helped burn centers, orphaned children, the military," George said.
Military units hold races in his honor in Iraq and Afghanistan, many running with their backpacks. A thousand West Point cadets join the New York race every year.
Complete strangers have volunteered to help, once again echoing the spirit of the firefighter who sacrificed everything to help people.
One of those volunteers is Randy Payne, a Kroger employee in Cincinnati who brings his family to New York to help with the race every year.
"It’s amazing," said George. "He’s just a guy out in the the middle of the midwest that showed up one day and they next thing you know, I'm good friends with him, my family are good friends with him. He’s such a caring person, his family’s so caring, and I'm sure that's the way everyone is in Cincinnati, good hearted Americans."
There is talk of starting a Tunnel to Towers race in Cincinnati. The Sillers would like to have one race for each of the 343 firefighters killed on 9/11.
George said, "There's so many good people in America. It's so touching to see how they care. And they don’t forget."
CBS New York
September 22, 2011, CBS 2,
The first members of Team Semper Fi arrived earlier in the day. They're staying just steps away from the World Trade Center site and know all about sacrifice first hand.
Corporal Gabriel Martinez lost both legs in Afghanistan less than a year ago.
"For everybody that's here in New York, that was here during that devastating day, my heart goes out to them and I just want them to know that I went out there and I sacrificed all I could on their behalf," Cpl. Martinez told CBS 2's Cindy Hsu.
The 36 team members that will participate on Sunday say it's an honor to take part in Tunnel To Towers, taking the same path as hero firefighter Siller.
"Just to retrace his steps to really show that we support not only him but all the firefighters, and policemen and just regular Americans who stepped up to the plate and went in there and tried to save other that they didn't even know," Lance Cpl. Brandon Pelletier said.
The team is made up of nearly 300 injured athletes and they compete all across the country. They’ve also raised millions of dollars for injured service members and their families.
"We also provide financial assistance for specially adapted housing, specially adapted vehicles. The families face tremendous difficulties, financial burdens when their service members are in the hospital for months at a time, even more than a year sometimes," said Kirt Rebello of The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
Sergeant Lee Randles ran his first triathlon last year and his service dog will be running with him this weekend.
"Her name is 'Dolly.' We call her the 'Dolly Lama,'" Sgt. Randles said. "She helps motivate me. She helps keep me going."
"My favorite quote is 'tough times don't last but tough Marines do,' and that hits the nail on the head. And it's not just Marines, it's anybody," Cpl. Martinez said.
And these heroes say they're running for everyone.
CBS 2 is a proud sponsor of Tunnel to Towers. The race will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. CBS 2 will have a special presentation of the race, beginning at 11 a.m.
The following article, which reports on the tenth anniversary of the happenings of September 11th, by way of the ninth anniversary of an annual athletic event designed to raise both money and publicity to help us "remember what happened" that signal day, displays an execution so wildly over the top in my estimation that I've had to go back and double check my motives to see if it isn't pure envy I feel. Could there possibly be a component of goodness powering this abundant energy and showmanship?
Well, no. It's probably as Satanic and demonically oriented as everything else to do with the imprinting of the big lie of 9/11 on humanity. If I had any doubts, the licensed backsides of these anonymous runners, so redolent of the past media treatment of the cui-bono 9/11 foot soldiers who undertook the coup de theatre, as deus ex machina, for the casus belli of a New World Order. It isn't just shame that makes them hide their faces, but an ever-present threat of possible prosecution .
Two runners on West Street in Manhattan wear New York State license plates during the 'Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run/Walk' - (Staten Island Advance/Derek Alvez).
An anonymity that reduces "real" people into pure numbers, like "911," and "343," and "2012," or if they're lucky, maybe a poor unflattering image or two. Would that these firemen at least had the Jew's resolution of "never again," instead of their vapid and soul-dead "in grave due time!"FDNY line up wearing banners depicting photos of fellow firefighters who died on 9/11, stand on West Street in Manhattan during the "Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run/Walk" - (Staten Island Advance/Derek Alvez).
White doves were released in remembrance of the victims of 9/11 at the 10th annual 'Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run/Walk.' - (Staten Island Advance/Derek Alvez)
Doves? This is fucking New York bros! At least make it pigeons if helium balloons aren't good enough as pointless symbols. The "Tunnel" portion of the "To Towers Run/Walk," with its inflection of "Dungeon and Dragons," surely call for trained rats and the stench of sulpher. Why don't they just get real and call it "Hiding Under a Burka in Dubai With Michael Jackson's Numbered Swiss Bank Account ring toss and fry-off?
Frank Siller, brother of the late firefighter Stephen Siller, talks about the 10th annual event at the 'Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run/Walk' in lower Manhattan - (Staten Island Advance/Derek Alvez).
At least the last ten years have been kinder on Frank Siller than on Louie Cacchioli. I can't remember if Frank is the Siller in furs, or fishing tackle, but since evil should be fun, profitable and sexy too, (for the short term, at any rate) he can avail himself of these nubile college cheerleaders, who will fuck their way to power and security---either as lawyers, or as craft hobbyists, like those who contributed the teddy bears and trinkets, and the signs and scrapbooks scrawled in faux children's handwriting, with their recalled mode of emotional reality, that which dumbed down the Shanksville and Arlington memorization processes for Middle American consumption.-
Wagner College cheerleaders on West Street in Manhattan during the "Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run/Walk" - (Staten Island Advance/Derek Alvez).
Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, in New York. An estimated 25,000 runners including firefighters from cities throughout the country participated in the event honoring firefighter Stephen Siller and his firefighter brothers who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. (Associated Press)
Is this another photoshopped image? In it, it appears as though the firemen in heavy turn-out gear are as fresh and dry as the soccer moms who beat them to the finish line in a walk, although, possibly misjudging the lens' foreshortening and the firemen's victory leaps, the women also look about three feet tall. Everybody's back to their right size in the next image.The finish line on West Street, in Manhattan -- the "Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run/Walk"- (Staten Island Advance/Derek Alvez).
September 26, 2011, Staten Island Live, The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run: 'A reminder you can do anything',
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Ten years after Firefighter Stephen Siller abandoned his truck, strapped on his gear and raced through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel to get to the burning World Trade Center, 30,000 people retraced his steps in the Tunnel to Towers Run yesterday.
"It's overwhelming to see so many great Americans coming together," said Frank Siller, Stephen's brother. "We have so many things that we're trying to accomplish, and we need the support of everybody."
Those running or walking in the event yesterday helped further the cause of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which supports burn centers across the country and works to build homes for members of the armed services returning from combat who have lost limbs or have been paralyzed.
The foundation also works to support children who have lost a parent.
When the run first began nine years ago, there were just about 2,000 participants. This year, there were 30,000 walkers and runners, race organizers said.
Stephen Siller, 34, who lived in West Brighton, was killed on Sept. 11, 2001. He was last seen alive at the very end of the race route, near Liberty and West Street. He was off duty when he ran through the already closed Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to join his fellow firefighters at the World Trade Center.
He left behind his wife, Sally, and five young children.
And his story has inspired many.
Jacob Hogan, 18, of West Brighton, has run this race before -- but this time, he raised $4,000 for the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. He wore a shirt emblazoned with the words "Let's roll," the famous phrase said by heroic passengers who brought down their highjacked plane on Sept. 11, preventing it from hitting Washington, D.C., targets.
U.S. Marine Todd Nicely, a quadruple amputee injured in Afghanistan, finishes the 5-kilometer Tunnel to Towers run, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, in New York. An estimated 25,000 runners, including firefighters from cities throughout the country, participated in the event honoring firefighter Stephen Siller and his firefighter brothers who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. (Associated Press)
Hogan and thousands of other runners emerged from the tunnel in Manhattan to see 343 firefighters holding banners with the faces and names of those FDNY members killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Alongside them were other firefighters and members of the armed forces holding American flags.
"Every time they go through Stephen Siller's story, about how he threw on his gear and ran through the tunnel, I get really choked up," Hogan said.
Firefighter Mike Carroll, 27, of Westerleigh, ran wearing all his fire gear -- as did many firefighters with the FDNY and other fire departments from as far away as London. For him, the run is definitely emotional.
"Of course," Carroll said. "We're firemen."
Russell Siller, also a brother of Stephen's, ran at the head of the pack, alongside wounded warriors who led the way with an earlier start at 9:11 a.m. Some were in specially designed hand bicycles, while others ran on two prosthetic legs.
Runners begin their journey as last year's winner, Dan Lewis (white shirt, NYAC #630), finished second in the 10th annual 'Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run/Walk' with a time of 15 minutes, 51 seconds. - (Staten Island Advance/Derek Alvez).
"It's a good reminder that you can do anything," Russell Siller said.
He thought the tenth anniversary of September 11 helped prompt the huge turnout. The date made him and other family members reflect on their loss often in the last few months, he said, and he has been finding himself tearing up frequently.
"It's been 10 long years without him," he said. "These would have been the glory years...He had so much to give."
When the all the runners and walkers had made their way through the tunnel, the firefighters holding the faces of the dead lined up behind bagpipers and a large, solemn banner bearing the number 343 to close the race.
Afterward, a decidedly more upbeat party kicked off nearby, featuring music and appearances by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and comedian Dennis Miller.
Frank Siller said the foundation had much to accomplish -- they have committed to building 38 homes for amputees returning from war. To that end, they intend to raise $12 million over the next three years, he said.
The foundation has focused closely on the military, Siller said, because they are the ones now making sacrifices in the fight that began on Sept. 11.
"As civilians, it is our duty to make sure we take care of them," Siller said. "It is our duty. It is our responsibility. But it is an honor."
CBS 2, Tunnel to Towers Run
Sunday, September 25th
Ten years ago, firefighter Stephen Siller had just finished the late shift at Squad 1 in Park Slope, Brooklyn when he heard on the scanner that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. He put on his gear and raced his truck to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, which had just been closed to traffic.
Sarah Siller with photo of Stephen. (Doug Kanter/AFP/Getty)
Since then, the Siller Family has honored Stephen’s legacy with the Tunnel to Towers Run. CBS 2 has served as a proud media sponsor of the Tunnel to Towers Run since its inception and continues on this tenth year of the event.
CBS 2 will broadcast the run in an hour-long special at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 25th. The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation believes that we can transcend the tragedy of 9/11 through the grace that comes from the power of caring.
Follow in the footsteps of a hero by participating in this 5K run beginning on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. For more information and to register, go to Tunnel To TowersRun.org or call 718-987-1931.
New York City Fire Department, Firefighter Stephen Siller and Sept. 11 Memorial Statue Unveiled
The Fire Department unveiled a bronze statue of Firefighter Stephen Siller on Sept. 17, honoring all FDNY members who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Stephen Siller put duty to his fellow members over his own safety,” Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said during the unveiling ceremony at the FDNY Training Academy. “This statue commemorates the extraordinary bravery of Stephen and all those who responded that day.”
The sculpture by artist Gregory Perillo depicts Firefighter Siller as he ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to respond to the World Trade Center attacks seven years ago. It includes placards listing all 343 names of FDNY members who made the Supreme Sacrifice on Sept. 11.
“This represents not just Stephen’s legacy, but all the 343 FDNY members who died that day,” said George Siller, Firefighter Siller’s brother.
In attendance for the unveiling was Firefighter Siller’s family, including his wife, Sally, and children, Katie, Olivia, Genevieve, Jake and Stephen.
“This will always remind us of what happened on 9/11,” said Chief of Department Salvatore Cassano. “The dedication, bravery and commitment it takes to be an FDNY firefighter. And it will serve as a motivator here at the Fire Academy.”
The sculpture took 2,500 hours to make over 16 months. It will be kept on display at the Fire Academy.
“I hope this will keep the memory alive of the 343 who perished,” said Mr. Perillo.
When bad taste is as blatant as this sad bronze memorization, with a process that even includes legwork by legless "ex-warriors," then you know you're dealing with a massive fraud at a fundamental level of human decency. Nobody could legitimately be so blind and dumb to this ugliness otherwise. Everything about this man---his family, those who race in his "memory," and especially the local New York CBS franchise that sponsors this fake charity (with its very heavy U.S. Marine Corps participation, which must speak to the nature of Siller's fraud.) Could Marines really do this to a wife and five children, only for the filthy lucre? Then capitalism is an evil system--and this is the proof.
October 14, 2011, North Jersey.com, Tunnel to Towers honors firefighters
Boy Scouts from Troop 72 in Parsippany participated in the Tunnel to Towers Run in New York City on Sunday Sept. 25.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SONJA MADDOX
At the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers run in New York City were, Troop 72 members: Assistant Scoutmaster John Maddox, Thomas Maddox, Mark Maddox, Crin Uricole, and Andrew Goetschkes.
The Tunnel to Towers race honors FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller, who ran in full fireman's gear through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Thomas Maddox, Mark Maddox, Andrew Goetschkes, Crin Uricoli and Assistant Scoutmaster John Maddox joined over 30,000 people, FDNY firefighters and members of the military, as they retraced Siller's steps.
When runners emerge from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel into Manhattan, they pass by 343 FDNY members who hold banners with the picture and name of each of the firefighters who perished that day, including Siller. Cadets from West Point line the road holding American Flags and nearly 2,000 cadets ran the race.
The Scouts raised over $600 for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. The money will goes to local burn centers in the tri-state area, restores shattered lives by building homes for surviving quadriplegic servicemen returning from combat, awards scholarships for local children who have lost a parent, and provides scholarships to children of the men and women who sacrificed their lives in the Afghan and Iraqi wars.
"Cadets from West Point line the road holding American Flags and nearly 2,000 cadets ran the race." With some official sponsorship from the trillion-dollar United States military establishment, it would go a long way explaining the singular success and growth of this self-dealing charity. Oh well. Better them than any more of Lisa Beamer.
Staten Island Rebels Athletic Association
2004 Lt. Nick Lia Tournament in honor of Firefighter Stephen Siller
Sprinting slightly more than a mile from Brooklyn to Manhattan does not sound like an extraordinary feat of athleticism until you close your eyes and imagine the desperate conditions under which one brave firefighter did it last Sept. 11.
In those impossibly frantic moments when the bar was permanently raised in evaluating heroism and courage, a married father of five who was technically off-duty abandoned his vehicle at the entrance of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, grabbed his work gear and made the run of his life, in an effort to save others. His name was Stephen Siller and he didn't live to tell of it.
"You could never really pin Stephen down," one of three older brothers, Russell, said recently from his home in Rockville Centre, N.Y. "He needed a lot of space. He had so much energy. He was, I have to say, indomitable."
He was on his way home to Staten Island from the night shift at the Squad 1 firehouse in Park Slope, Brooklyn, when he learned the Twin Towers had been hit and had burst into flames. The brothers can only assume Stephen heard the news on the scanner in his mini-truck. Duty was calling. His city and country were calling. The typical Siller brothers outing, a round of golf out in New Jersey, would have to wait.
"Stephen called his wife, Sally, and told her to tell us there was an emergency," another brother, George Siller, said. "He said he'd be back later. He never came home." They are a large Staten Island family — four boys, three girls. Stephen, at 34, was the baby by far, only 10 when he was orphaned, losing a parent for the second time within two years. Russell Siller, 24 years Stephen's senior, took him in, raised him in Rockville Centre, and even taught him English at St. Agnes High School.
"He lived with me and my family," Russell Siller said, "but it was really a family-wide effort. We all raised Stephen. He was close with everyone and as a kid went from house to house. And that's why losing him has been so hard. People feel for the spouses and children, but it's natural for them to feel like the siblings should just go on. Stephen was more like our son than our sibling."
He was the generational link, the one who could always keep up with next wave of Sillers, the nieces and nephews, as well as his own kids. "He played ball with them, he'd run with them," said George Siller, who owns a Staten Island sporting goods store. "You never saw a guy with as much energy as Stephen. I don't know if it's because of what happened to him as a kid, but he never wanted to miss a minute of life."
He loved the Mets and working out, and softball games with his brothers, and later he became more than pretty good at golf. He competed in a few triathlon-like events and ran road races with Russell in Long Island. Built more like a football player, he didn't have a classic runner's body, his brothers said. He just had the will to keep going.
He was about three-quarters through the 1.7-mile tunnel when the truck from Brooklyn's Engine Co. 239 spotted him, running along the catwalk, carrying his gear. "They told us they picked him up," George Siller said. "Dropped him off on West Street, close to ground zero. We guess he went looking for the guys from Squad 1. That was the last thing we heard."
There would be no golf outing and no husband coming home. The oldest of his children, 10, would lose a parent at the very age Stephen was orphaned. The youngest, one and a half, not long removed from open heart surgery, would never know his father, which only made the Sillers more determined to find a way to make sure the baby and the other kids knew what their kid brother, their communal son, was about.
How to properly memorialize — with a plaque, a ceremony, a golf outing? No, it had to be something that explained who he was, that captured his spirit. A close friend offered the idea of a road race, and the Sillers knew right away where it would begin and where it would end.
They got the permits and recently announced the first Tunnel to Towers Run for the benefit of the firefighters' burn center and the Stephen Siller Let-Us-Do-Good Children's Foundation on Sept. 29. The race will be five kilometers long, or 3.1 miles, from the entrance to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel to where the towers stood, following the route Stephen Siller took on foot, by engine and on foot to the finish.
The Sillers have fashioned a logo. They are developing a Web site — TunnelToTowersRun.org. They adopted a slogan: "Follow the footsteps of an American hero."
Russell Siller said he is going to run and he only hopes that navigating the tunnel, trying to imagine what his brother was thinking, how he was feeling, will not render him weak in the knees. The memory of Sept. 11 is so painful to carry around, but then, in the face of the worst of it, Stephen Siller lugged his gear and ran the tunnel and made it to where he believed he should be.
Great runs in sports are celebrated and immortalized. This should be one for the ages.
August 31, 2011, www.golf.com, The Siller brothers remember their firefighter sibling, who never made it to their family game on Sept. 11, 2001, by Mike Walker,
As much as the Siller brothers loved golf, it was a rare and special day when all four of them could play together. Russ was a college professor, George owned a sporting goods store, Frank sold fur coats, and Stephen — the youngest by 14 years at age 34 — was a firefighter. The morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, was one of those welcome coincidences that happened three or four times a year when the four of them could escape work and family obligations for a few hours and meet on the course.
"We were the perfect foursome," George Siller said of the spirited matches between the brothers, which often went down to the final hole amid good-natured trash-talking. "We used to say we had 15, 20 years left of doing this."
The brothers, who all lived on Staten Island, were planning to tee off at Glenwood Country Club in New Jersey, where Frank and Stephen had memberships. Frank and Stephen played together at every opportunity and were excellent golfers, each carrying a 3 handicap, which placed them among the top three percent of players in the country. Warm, with deep blue skies and barely a whisper of wind, the weather couldn't have been better for golf and family time.
"Oh my God, it was just too nice," Frank Siller said. "Every day that's like that, it just comes into your head. When it's a 10 weather-wise and clear-wise, it takes you right back."
Stephen had just finished his overnight shift at Fire Engine Squad 1 in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn and was driving from Brooklyn to New Jersey to meet his brothers at the golf course when he heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center. Stephen called his wife Sarah and said, "Tell my brothers I'll catch up with them."
Frank said his brother would have known almost immediately when the first tower was hit just before 9 a.m. because Stephen always kept a firefighter's scanner with him. "If he was out to dinner with his wife," Frank recalled, "he brought that scanner."
What Stephen did that morning was remarkable even by the exceptional standard of bravery set by firefighters, first-responders and cubicle dwellers with no emergency training who helped their co-workers escape the buildings. He stopped his pickup truck at the Brooklyn entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, which was closed to traffic. He put on his fire-resistant coat and pants, helmet, mask and oxygen tank, gear that weighed close to 60 pounds, and started jogging through the 1.7-mile-long tunnel. At one point a fire truck passed Stephen in the tube and the crew asked him if he wanted a lift. "No," he said, "I'll get there before you."
A friend who worked on a different fire truck later told Frank that he took Stephen from the tunnel's exit in Lower Manhattan to the corner of West Street and Liberty Street at the foot of the World Trade Center's South Tower. That witness's account is the last report his family has of Stephen's actions that day. Based on this report, Frank believes that Stephen was in the South Tower when it collapsed at 9:59 a.m., 29 minutes before the North Tower fell.
Stephen's brothers didn't make it to the golf course that morning either, of course. Frank said family members spent the rest of the day divided between his home and Stephen's, two minutes away on Staten Island, watching TV, listening to the radio and calling friends in a desperate search for news. "It was just a day that was supposed to be so different," he said.
Even before Frank knew anything about his brother's actions that morning, he felt a terrible realization when he watched the South Tower fall. Until then, he thought Stephen was just fighting a fire, something he'd done hundreds of times. "When that first tower came down," Frank recalled, "I told my mother-in-law, 'I think I just lost my brother.'"
There was no question in his mind whether Stephen had made it to the towers. "You knew he'd find a way to get there," Frank said. The brother he had played 63 holes of golf with in a single day, the brother who once didn't stop looking for his lost golf ball in a creek until he had found 95 other balls, wouldn't let a closed tunnel keep him from his mission.
"He was a bull," Frank said. "He worked out all the time. He wanted to be prepared for a moment like this."
Stephen's body was never recovered. The family held a memorial service on Oct. 3, 2001, and Stephen's wife, Sally, and their five children, his three brothers and three sisters mourned and tried to move on with their lives. On a late fall day in 2001, the three remaining Siller brothers went out to the golf course. It was Frank's idea; he said that Stephen would want them to keep playing golf together.
But the brothers found they could barely play at all. Russell Siller remembers how hard it was to concentrate. His brothers — much better players than he is — looked like beginners that day. "Our bodies had broken down, and we were all over the lot," Russell said. "It was absolutely pathetic. They were as bad as me."
The Siller brothers didn't even finish 18 holes; after a while, they stopped playing and walked the rest of the course.
Firefighter Stephen Siller
Memorial Service was held on October 3, 2001
Steve Siller was an orphan at age 10 - his mother died of cancer, his father from a blood clot - and he spent his childhood in the care of his sisters and brothers. "He accepted what was handed to him," said his wife, Sally. "He lived life to its fullest. People meant everything to him." A typical day for Mr. Siller, 34, went something like this: work a 24-hour shift and then golf with his brothers; go home and have lunch with his wife; take the children to the park; help the neighbor with a flat and then go to bed. He was a fireman with the Squad 1 company in Park Slope, Brooklyn, who died helping people. He was last seen running through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel on Sept. 11 with his bunker gear under his arm. His brother George wrote a poem for his memorial. It reads, in part: What to say to his five children and wife? How do I try to explain what's ahead in their life? I'll tell them their father was a saint and a hero, Who fought courageously, the battle at ground zero.
Newsday ArticleSquad 1 firefighter Stephen Siller had just finished his shift on the morning of Sept. 11 and was on his way to meet his three older brothers on the golf course when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. He made a quick call to his wife, Sally, to tell her something terrible had happened, then raced back to the firehouse in Park Slope for his gear. He was last seen driving his own car into the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Siller, 34, a Staten Island resident, lost both his parents by the age of 11. He grew up on Long Island with his adoptive family and graduated in 1984 from St. Agnes Cathedral High School in Rockville Centre, where he starred in "The Music Man" and "Our Town." He was a partner with his brother in the Staten Island Furrier, held season tickets to the Mets, loved to argue politics and was an avid reader who had a gift for friendship, his family recalls. He is survived by his wife; daughters Katherine, Olivia and Genevieve; sons Jake and Stephen; brothers Russell, George and Frank; sisters Janis, Mary and Regina; and 21 nieces and nephews. A Mass of Christian Burial will be said at 11 a.m. today at Sacred Heart Church, 981 Castleton Ave., Staten Island.
September 11, 2010, Staten Island Advance, Stephen Siller, 34, devoted husband, father,
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — On Sept. 11 Stephen Siller was driving to meet his three older brothers at the Glenwood Country Club Golf Course in New Jersey, so the "perfect foursome" could play a round of golf. A fire buff even before he joined the Fire Department, the West Brighton native was listening to his scanner when news of the World Trade Center disaster came across. He called his wife, Sally, telling her to let his brothers know he would meet them later; he was going to get his gear and join his company, Squad 1.
According to his brother, Frank, his family has pieced together the details of Stephen's final actions. They believe he drove his own car from Squad 1's Brooklyn firehouse to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, where traffic was at a standstill. He probably ran through the tunnel and was picked up by Engine 224, and after arriving at the disaster site most likely hooked up with his squad. Mr. Siller and 10 other members of Squad 1 did not survive.
Being a firefighter was the 34-year-old's lifelong dream, one he realized in 1995. After graduating from the Fire Academy, he worked in rotation for three years at Engine Co. 10, Manhattan; Ladder Co. 153, Brooklyn and Engine Co. 153, Staten Island.
Mr. Siller lost both of his parents within a year of each other by the time he was 11, and learned early "that time was precious."
"He lived life to the hilt," said his brother Russell. "No one could keep up with him."
The youngest of seven children, he lived on Long Island with the families of a sister and brother after his parents died. He starred in several drama productions at St. Agnes Cathedral High School, notably "Music Man" and "Our Town" He also became an passionate reader and devoted Mets fan -- this year he bought season tickets.
The hero in his favorite book, "A Prayer for Owen Meany," has been described as a heartbreaking character in a comic novel who triumphs over insurmountable odds. The choice is all the more poignant with the death of this courageous man remembered for his laughter.
Despite being the youngest, Mr. Siller "held center stage with his six siblings." And he surrounded himself with people, especially his own children, who range in age from 9 years to 9 months, including his youngest son, Stephen, born in January. His 21 nieces and nephews considered him more of a brother than an uncle.
He returned to Sunnyside at 19 to work in his brother Frank's business, Staten Island Furriers, and the two eventually became partners. Although successful in business, Mr. Siller pursued his dream of joining the city Fire Department. At the insistence of Kathleen Driscoll, a good friend of both, he went out on a date with Sarah (Sally) Wilson; the two had been neighbors when he lived in West Brighton. It was a memorable date. Her car broke down and they drove home in reverse. She had been reluctant about the date, but they were together from that time on.
The couple were married in 1990, and moved to Meiers Corners. A year ago, they bought a home in West Brighton, which they renovated for their large family. And though they hadn't lived there long, "It really feels like home," Mrs. Siller said.
Neighbor Eugene (Gene) Spillane describes the brief presence of Steve Siller on the block as like "having an angel on earth."
"When I got sick, he was here taking care of the house. We had floods, air conditioning problems, our phone went dead and we came home to a new phone. He shopped every day," said Mr. Spillane, who has been battling a serious illness. "Wherever he went, he took our girls and all his kids," continued the father of four. "If he was having a barbecue and you were on your porch, you were eating good that night. He was a great grillmaster." The excellent golfer also took his new neighbor out on the course, just for some fresh air, after his operation. The devoted husband and father was a parishioner of Sacred Heart R.C. Church, West Brighton, where he was a member of the Youth Activity Council and coached his daughter's fourth-grade CYO basketball team. There seemed to be no end to the energy he had for others.
In addition to his wife, Sally, and his brothers, Frank and Russell, also surviving are his two sons Jake and Stephen; his three daughters, Katherine, Olivia, and Genevieve Siller; his brother, George, and his three sisters, Janis Hannan, Mary Scullin, and Regina Vogt.
The funeral will be Wednesday from the Harmon Home for Funerals, West Brighton, with a mass at 11 a.m. in Sacred Heart Church. Burial will be in St. Peter's Cemetery, also West Brighton.
September 11, 2011, Newsday, 9/11 Anniversary: A decade later
Long Island remembers
Stephen Gerard Siller
Place of death: Unknown
Community: Rockville Centre
About Stephen Siller
Stephen Siller, 34, who grew up in Rockville Centre, was a firefighter assigned to Squad 1 in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He had just finished his tour and was heading home to Staten Island when he heard a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. He strapped on his gear and ran nearly two miles through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel toward the fire. His remains were never found.
Russ Siller was at his brother's house waiting for him to come home so the Siller brothers could head out for a round of golf. Stephen Siller had called his wife, Sally, on Sept. 11 to say he'd be late for his planned golf game with his three brothers.
The Siller family had hoped that Stephen, the youngest of seven, found an air pocket or some other safe place. Siller is believed to have died inside the south tower, his brother said. In addition to his wife, he left behind five children.
"It's a wake that's never ended for us and for a lot of people," Siller said.
Stephen Siller had experienced more than his share of loss. His father died when he was 8, and his mother two years later. He went to live with Russ, the oldest brother, and sister-in-law, Jackie.
"He had to fight to center himself and accept what happened and move forward," Siller said.
These days, the six siblings meet regularly to discuss the affairs of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, established to honor his legacy. A 5k race that retraces his final footsteps is held on the last Sunday of each September. The event has grown over the years and thousands of participants come from as far away as London and Denmark, Siller said.
The money raised goes to help others, including 8th-grade students at St. Agnes Cathedral School in Rockville Centre. The foundation awards a $1,000 scholarship to each 8th grader who lost a parent. - Chau Lam
This profile was originally published in 2001/2002
Squad 1 firefighter Stephen Siller had just finished his shift on the morning of Sept. 11 and was on his way to meet his three older brothers on the golf course when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. He made a quick call to his wife, Sarah, to tell her something terrible had happened, then raced back to the firehouse in Park Slope for his gear.
He was last seen driving his own car into the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.
Siller, 34, a Staten Island resident, lost both his parents by the age of 11. He grew up on Long Island with his adoptive family and graduated in 1984 from St. Agnes Cathedral High School in Rockville Centre, where he starred in "The Music Man" and "Our Town."
He was a partner with his brother in the Staten Island Furrier, held season tickets to the Mets, loved to argue politics and was an avid reader who had a gift for friendship, his family recalls.
He is survived by his wife; daughters Katherine, Olivia and Genevieve; sons Jake and Stephen; brothers Russell, George and Frank; sisters Janis, Mary and Regina; and 21 nieces and nephews. -- Elizabeth Moore
That September morning, after he heard about the World Trade Center attack on the scanner, firefighter Stephen Siller strapped on 80 pounds of gear and ran nearly two miles through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, heading for the fire.
It was the last run of his life. He was 34.
So, after oceans of tears have been shed by his wife, his five children and his six siblings, the family felt the best way to honor Siller would be to organize a race that retraced his final footsteps.
This morning at 10 a.m., more than 3,000 runners are expected to follow a 5K route from Brooklyn, through the Battery tunnel into lower Manhattan, up West Street to Liberty Street, past the World Financial Center, and finally to the former site of the Twin Towers.
Russ Siller, the lost firefighter's oldest brother, said when the family thought of the commemorative "Tunnel to Towers Run," they never expected so many people to respond. All proceeds from race registration fees and donations will benefit two charities - the NYC Firefighter Burn Center and the Stephen Siller "Let Us Do Good" Children's Foundation, a charity the Siller family created to help children who have lost one or both parents, or who have other special needs.
"It has been unbelievable," said Siller, 60, who lives in Rockville Centre, where Stephen was raised. "Many people are running to remember him. But there are people also running for the others who have died.
"We had all the memorials and ceremonies, but people are still dealing with this. Maybe they need a different way of expressing that grief."
Stephen Siller was a surprise baby, born 25 years after Russ. But by the time he was 10, the baby of the family had become an orphan. George Siller, Stephen's father, died of diabetes in 1975. Two years later, his mother, Mae, died of cancer.
It was Russ, and his wife Jacqueline, who took Stephen in and raised him as their son.
At 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, Stephen Siller had just finished the night shift at his Brooklyn firehouse, the elite Squad 1 of Park Slope. He began driving to his Staten Island home, where he had a golf date with three of his brothers. Then, he heard the first bulletins about the World Trade Center.
Siller turned his car around and raced back to Brooklyn for his gear. Then he headed for the towers.
All routes into Manhattan were blocked, so Siller held tight to his gear and started running through the tunnel. Near the Manhattan end, a truck from Brooklyn's Engine Company 239 picked him up. They all headed to the south tower together, and that was the last anyone saw of him.
This morning, Russ Siller will be running through the tunnel, looking ahead toward the light.
"Ground Zero has been cleared. Shovel by shovel, it has been cleared," he said. "We can only hope this race will help everyone to recapture Stephen's spirit and at the same time, reclaim the city." -- Margaret Ramirez
Stephen Siller - Oprah - Sept 11, 2007