The CEO of Tunnel to Towers will observe the 20th anniversary of the attack on Sept. 11 by making a pilgrimage to each site impacted on that day – a trek of nearly 500 miles.
This year, Frank Siller will make the Never Forget Walk, in which he will visit the site where lives were lost due to the attacks.
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“We made a promise to NEVER FORGET… but 20 years later people are starting to forget,” Siller told Fox News. “Walking to the sites directly impacted on September 11th, is a meaningful way to keep that promise and pay tribute to their memory.”
Siller will set out Aug. 1 from the Pentagon, where a plane crashed and killed 125 people. He will walk 15 miles a day as he covers a little under 500 miles between Arlington, Virginia and New York City, with a stop in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where 44 people died after passengers attempted to regain control from terrorists on United Airlines Flight 93.
Siller will not make the walk alone: He will be joined at various portions of the walk by Gold Star spouses, injured veterans, families of fallen first responders and 9/11 families.
Siller founded the charity organization, also known as T2T, in order to honor the memory of his brother, Stephen, who died along with the other 342 firefighters during the efforts to rescue and evacuate people from the Twin Towers before they collapsed.
Two decades later, the foundation has delivered, started constructing or designed at least 92 homes for veterans or Gold Star families, but Siller worries that people are forgetting the loss felt 20 years ago in the most devastating attack on American soil – something he wants to rectify.
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The foundation will also host parades along the route during the Never Forget Walk.
The first parade will be in Winchester, Virginia on Aug. 7, with a parade held every seven days thereafter at one of the towns or cities along the route. A parade will be held in Shanksville on Aug. 21, and a parade will be held on Staten Island on Sept. 10 ahead of Siller’s arrival at Ground Zero – now known as One World Trade Center – on Sept. 11 itself.
Siller will not be raising money as part of the walk: The purpose is purely to remember and honor those who lost their lives. However, T2T is asking Americans to always consider donating to the foundation at T2T.org.
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The foundation also plans to read the names of first responders who died due to 9/11-related illnesses as part of the observance of the anniversary, WJLA reported.
“Many of these first responders suffered from chronic illnesses, some losing their battle to them,” Siller said in a statement. “We will honor their sacrifice as well as the sacrifices of fallen military members who lost their lives after answering the call to service in the wake of 9/11.”
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Additionally, the foundation announced this week that it will pay tribute to service members who have died since 9/11 by reading out the names of the over 7000 fallen service members on Veteran’s Day this year.