The Tunnel to Towers Foundation has pulled off another 5K Run & Walk NYC event in honor of the many heroes of 9/11.
The foundation kicked off its 22nd annual race on Sunday in New York City, with participants running through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel to the former site of the Twin Towers.
Tunnel to Towers Foundation chairman Frank Siller started the event in memory of his brother, first responder Stephen Siller — who ran the same route on Sept. 11, 2001.
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In an interview with Fox News Digital at the 5K race, Siller reflected on each life that was tragically lost during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Siller spoke about the many runners who are the spouses and children of first responders and military service members — the people who served our nation in a variety of ways.
“All these families have their own Tunnel to Towers run inside our run,” he said.
“And that’s what I love about it most. We remember everybody.”
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Tunnel to Towers maintains a tradition of honoring every single first responder who died on 9/11 by holding flags with their photos as the runners exit the tunnel into Lower Manhattan.
As of Sunday, 343 New York City firefighters died due to 9/11-related illnesses — the same number who died on the day of the attacks, according to Siller.
Thousands of participants came out for Sunday’s event — and the rainy weather in New York City did not slow anyone down.
“You can feel the energy. It’s beautiful,” Siller said, noting that nobody was bothered by the rain.
“They came here to honor our heroes, those who’ve done so much for our country, sacrificed everything for our communities, and that’s why we’re here today — to remember them.”
The post-race event offered food, drinks and music from performers like Lady A.
As Siller noted, the “great heroes” who lost their lives would have “liked a great celebration.”
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The race gets “bigger and bigger every year,” Siller said, thanks to the participation and support of passionate Americans, he said.
“I tip my hat to everyone who ran today,” he said. “You’re courageous in your own way.”
He told participants, “You came out to serve those who serve, and you turned this into a beautiful day … Thank you for showing up and doing good.”
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Siller encouraged Americans to remember that the freedom we enjoy is due to the men and women who “sign up and protect us.”
“And if they give their kids a kiss goodbye and they don’t come home — we as a country better take care of them,” Siller said.
As an ongoing initiative of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, the organization has provided homes and mortgage payments for the families of fallen first responders and service individuals.
Siller added, “We want to bring everybody together to take care of these families and make that promise.”
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Source: Fox News