After thinking of his brother on every one of the 500 miles of his journey, Frank Siller completed his “Never Forget” walk Saturday morning, exiting the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and arriving at FDNY Ten House across the street from the World Trade Center as other family members and dignitaries gathered to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
“You know, 911 was so surreal,” Siller told The Post as he completed the trek done to honor his brother, Stephen Siller, and the others who died in the attacks. “Twenty years ago, it hovers like you were in a dream.”
Frank Siller has memorialized his brother with the Tunnels to Towers Foundation, named for the path Stephen took as he ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the twin towers in the moments after the attacks.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run & Walk, which retraces his steps, has become one of the most popular 5K races in the country, with about 30,000 people participating in 2019. It will be held this year on Sept. 26.
“When the South Tower came down, I remember turning to my mother-in-law who was in my house and I said, I think I just lost my brother,” Frank Siller recalled Saturday morning. “I didn’t know how he got there that day, but I knew my brother, I knew he would find a way.”
Stephen was last seen alive at the corner of West and Liberty streets, Frank said.
“We believe he was in the South Tower – he’s never been recovered, but that’s where all his firefighter buddies Squad 1 died that day,” Frank continued, “so I’m sure he wanted to fight this fire right alongside of them.
“We had to do something to, to recognize them.”
This year, Frank wanted to do something more, so he decided to walk from the Pentagon to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to the World Trade Center site, culminating with his arrival Saturday morning.
“The 500 miles, I think of my brother every single day,” Frank said. “I carry a picture of him in my pocket. I had different things in my pocket that I brought with me every single day.”
Along the walk, he was joined by the members of different firehouses and other first responders. As ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks began at the adjacent memorial site, hundreds of firefighters, some hailing from as far away as Orange County, Calif., gathered outside the firehouse with their families.
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Whether walking with people or alone, Frank said he reflected on what his brother did “and what I have to do and what my family has to do to make sure that we keep that great spirit of his alive.”