One thing I have really appreciated about all the 9/11 remembrances over the past 10 years is the chance to get to know the personal stories about so many of those that were killed that day. There are SO many stories of courage and emotional fortitude, but each year there always seems to be one story that really sticks with me. This year it was STEPHEN SILLER. I can't seem to get him out of my thoughts...
"By the time Stephen Siller was 10 years old, he had already lost both parents. Although he went through a period of struggle, because of the love of his siblings and the values instilled in him by his parents, he grew up to be an extraordinary individual. More than most, he knew that time was precious and accomplished much in his 34 years.
On September 11th, firefighter Stephen Siller had just gotten off the late shift at Squad 1, Park Slope, Brooklyn. He was on his way to play golf with his brothers on that bright clear day when his scanner told of the first plane hitting the Twin Towers. When he heard the news, he called his wife Sally to tell her he would be late because he had to help those in need. He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear, then took his final heroic steps to the World Trade Center. When Stephen drove his truck to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, it was already closed to traffic . With sixty pounds of gear strapped to his back, he ran through the Tunnel, hoping to meet up with his own company, Squad 1.
Stephen was first and foremost a loving husband and father to five children. He was also a dedicated fireman, devoted brother, loyal friend and committed neighbor. His life brought great light to those around him.
Stephen’s brother Russell wrote these words for Stephen’s Memorial which best expresses the effect of his life on all who knew him. “Like the comet Halle-Bopp that streaked across the sky a few years ago, Stephen’s light startled us all. When we thought it could not get any brighter, it got brighter still. Just when we were enjoying it so much, for it was so unexpected, so breathtaking, it shot across the sky and went well beyond us all, deeper into the mind of God.”
Stephen’s life and his heroic death serve as reminder to us all to live life to the fullest and to spend our time hear on earth doing good - this is his legacy." (source)
Each year there is a Tunnel to Towers Walk/Run in honor of Stephen. This year's will take place on September 25th.
RIP Stephen. Your dedication, loyalty and sacrifice is humbling.