NEW YORK - It was a day filled with overwhelming emotions as heroes and proud Americans from across our area came together for the annual Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk.
"To bring over 35,000 people together to honor not just my brother Stephen but all those who perished 20 years ago," said Frank Siller, CEO of Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
Siller started the nonprofit Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation in honor of his late brother, Stephen. The 34-year-old died on 9/11 after racing through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel on foot with 60 pounds of gear strapped to his back so that he could get to the burning towers.
Every year, tens of thousands come back to run or walk that same path through the tunnel, now the Hugh L. Carrey Tunnel.
"It’s just a day where we can come together and honor all those that made the ultimate sacrifice 20 years ago and it’s very emotional because we are walking the same footsteps that we walked 20 years ago when this occurred," said NYPD Deputy Inspector Caroline Roe.
This year, as we mark the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks, participants felt an extra heaviness in their hearts as they crossed the finish line. All of them wanting to give back for different reasons.
"I was hurt in 2007 in Baghdad, I was a sergeant in the US Army and I was struck by a roadside bomb. We are going to raise awareness for every other wounded warrior that gets hurt and we are going to be able to take care of their families when they have their worst day, that is what this is all about," one participant told Fox 5.