NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Some 30,000 runners made their way through the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center in Manhattan in an annual tribute to firefighters killed on Sept. 11.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation held its 18th Tunnel to Towers run on Sunday. The foundation raises money for wounded vets and the families of fallen first responders.
Firefighters wearing helmets and bunker gear chanted “USA!” before the runners started in Brooklyn and made their way through the tunnel.
The runners retraced the footsteps of Siller, an off-duty firefighter who died at the World Trade Center after running through the tunnel to help rescue people on 9/11.
John Walsh retired from the FDNY after 28 years but he still makes the run.
“Going through the tunnel and running past all the people that are holding their flags—guys I worked with, guys I played football with—it’s inspiring,” Walsh said. “I do it ever year. Because I’m here, I can do it.”
Banners with images of the 343 firefighters killed on 9/11 line the route.
Edwin Paulo was wearing a fire helmet and bunker gear as he made the trek.
“You start thinking about how Stephen Siller did it on 9/11. He didn’t think twice. We’re following his footsteps,” Paulo said.
Retired Army Master Sgt. Cedric King was also running. He was wounded in Afghanistan.
“I stepped on an improvised explosive device—blew both my legs off,” King said. “I just wanted to know that I could get back to being a regular, real runner. I wanted to know that I wasn’t helpless.”