On Wednesday September 8, Bayonne rolled out the red carpet to welcome Frank Siller to Bayonne. Mr. Siller, President and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, crossed Bayonne on his more than 500 mile walk across America for the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Frank Siller entered Bayonne in the northeast corner of the city. Escorted by Bayonne police and firefighters, he walked through Stephen R. Gregg Bayonne County Park to the area around the flagpole. He was greeted by a crowd of Bayonnais come to see history being made.
Joining Bayonne officials on stage, Mr Siller recounted the journey of his brother, Stephen Siller, the New York firefighter who donned his firefighter gear on September 11, 2001 and walked through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to serve others at World Trade Center. turns. After Stephen Siller died in service that day, his family decided to found the Tunnel to Towers Foundation to carry on Stephen’s legacy of service. For the twentieth anniversary of Stephen Siller’s Towers Tunnel Journey, Frank Siller has decided to cross several US states on foot, reaching Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2021.
In my remarks, I described Stephen Siller as “the epitome of a first responder” and that the first responder “gets in trouble when all hell breaks loose”. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation continued to serve Stephen Siller by paying off mortgages for first responders who died in combat. I mentioned that the foundation paid off the mortgage for Detective Joe Seals, the Jersey City police officer who was killed on the job in 2019.
In his presentation, Frank Siller said he decided to visit the three places where lives were lost on September 11, 2001: Shanksville, Pennsylvania; Arlington, Virginia; and New York, NY He said he loves “all the communities” he’s been through. Mr. Siller explained that the purpose of his trip “is to make sure people don’t forget” the people who were murdered by terrorists on September 11, 2001.
Mr Siller’s walk through Bayonne drew crowds to Gregg Bayonne Park, Bayonne High School, 16th Street Fire Station and the Bayonne Bridge entrance. Bayonne joined Frank Siller to show America at its best. We know how to take care of each other and remember those we have lost.