Brooklyn, NY, USA
09/11/2001, New York, USA
By the time Stephen Siller was 10 years old, he had already lost both parents. Although he went through a period of struggle, because of the love of his siblings and the values instilled in him by his parents, he grew up to be an extraordinary individual. More than most, he knew that time was precious and accomplished much in his 34 years.
On September 11th, firefighter Stephen Siller had just gotten off the late shift at Squad 1, Park Slope, Brooklyn. He was on his way to play golf with his brothers on that bright clear day when his scanner told of the first plane hitting the Twin Towers. When he heard the news, he called his wife Sally to tell her he would be late because he had to help those in need. He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear, and then took his final heroic steps to the World Trade Center. When Stephen drove his truck to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, it was already closed to traffic. With sixty pounds of gear strapped to his back, he ran through the Tunnel, hoping to meet up with his own company, Squad 1.
Stephen was first and foremost a loving husband and father to five children. He was also a dedicated fireman, devoted brother, loyal friend and committed neighbor. His life brought great light to those around him.
Stephen’s brother Russell wrote these words for Stephen’s Memorial which best expresses the effect of his life on all who knew him. “Like the comet Halle-Bopp that streaked across the sky a few years ago, Stephen’s light startled us all. When we thought it could not get any brighter, it got brighter still. Just when we were enjoying it so much, for it was so unexpected, so breathtaking, it shot across the sky and went well beyond us all, deeper into the mind of God.”
Stephen’s life and his heroic death serve as reminder to us all to live life to the fullest and to spend our time here on earth doing good – this is his legacy.
Family friend, Jay Price, shared thoughts on Stephen’s lasting legacy when he wrote, “Every momentous event, even a tragedy, has its symbolic figures. September 11th was no different; it just had a few more of them. Rudy Giuliani, Father Mychal Judge, the four guys on United Flight 93…a hundred more…a thousand. None bigger than Stephen Siller, whose stature only grows with time as New Yorkers and people from around the world follow his footsteps.”
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.