New York City

Tunnels to Towers Ceremony Honors 1st Responders Lost in Years Since 9/11

Tunnel of Towers

The foundation named after a firefighter who perished on Sept. 11 after running from Brooklyn to Manhattan in full gear held a ceremony in lower Manhattan on Sunday to honor those lost in the years since the attacks.

The event sponsored by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation featured the reading of names of first responders and others who spent time at Ground Zero after Sept. 11 and later succumbed to illnesses.

Among presenters Sunday was Mary Siller Scullin, sister of late firefighter Stephen Siller. Stephen Siller ran through the Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 after the north and south towers were hit by planes.

“The Tunnel to Towers Foundation has promised never to forget the sacrifices made on 9/11 and all the sacrifices that have been made and continue to be made ever since,” foundation CEO Frank Siller, Stephen’s brother, told the gathering Sunday.

The foundation holds an annual 5K run and walk that retraces Stephen Siller's footsteps. The event, which raises money for wounded veterans and families of fallen first responders, was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands of people exposed to World Trade Center dust developed health problems in the years after the attacks, most commonly chronic nasal passage problems, shortness of breath and acid reflux disease. A smaller number have suffered from more serious problems, like lung disease.

Many have also gotten cancer, though scientists still can’t say whether there is a link to toxins released in the collapse of the twin towers. Some studies have found that cancer deaths among 9/11 first responders have been similar to what they are for the general public, but many families who have lost loved-ones remain convinced their deaths are connected to toxic materials released in the collapse of the twin towers.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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