Thousands of people laced up their shoes on Sunday to participate in the 21st annual Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk NYC — retracing the final footsteps taken by FDNY Firefighter Stephen Siller on Sept. 11, 2001, from Brooklyn through the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel to Manhattan.
The iconic event is a tribute to the 343 firefighters and first responders who were lost on 9/11. The event was created by Siller’s siblings, who wanted to honor the final steps of their brother, a West Brighton resident who strapped on his gear and ran through the tunnel to the Twin Towers to save people on that tragic day.
It has expanded to honor all the lives lost in the war on terror. This year, Tunnel to Towers paid a special tribute to the 13 service members who lost their lives on Aug. 26, 2021, during the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, the organization said.
“In the final hours on the final day of the war in Afghanistan, the longest war in America’s history, these 13 brave men and women lost their lives. We honor their memory and want to ensure their names are not forgotten,” said Frank Siller, chairman & CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
Each year, the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk is made possible by the support of many generous sponsors and thousands of volunteers.
The run kicked off at 9:30 a.m., where not only joggers joined, but first responders in their gear ran.
Artist Lynn Mara’s portraits of the 13 service members lost last year were featured along the route. Mara and her “Team 13″ participated in the event, and she signed prints at the post-run party on Vesey Street — with 100% of the profits donated to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
Additionally, entertainer Dierks Bentley headlined the concert at the post-run party. A longtime supporter of first responders and the military, Bentley recently celebrated his 15-year anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and is a dominant voice in country music with over 7.6 billion streams.
“I am proud to get the opportunity to perform for our heroes and work with Tunnel to Towers to support their families,” said Bentley.
For more than 20 years, the foundation has supported our nation’s first responders, veterans and their families by providing these heroes and the families they leave behind with mortgage-free homes.
Visit T2T.org for more information about the organization.
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