Tunnel To Towers: Part 2


WE HAVE FIREFIGHTERS FROM ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES, POLICE OFFICERS, ALL FROM THE UNITED STATES. THAT GO THROUGH THAT TUNNEL AND RETRACE MY BROTHER’S FINAL HEROIC FOOTSTEPS THAT HE TOOK TO GET TO THERE ON 9/11 WHERE HE GAVE UP HIS LIFE LIKE DETECTIVE LIU AND DETECTIVE RAMOS WHILE PROTECTING THIS GREAT CITY AND THIS GREAT COUNTRY. AND WE’LL DO THAT EVERY SINGLE YEAR TO MAKE SURE THAT WE NEVER FORGET AND WE HONOR THE SACRIFICE. OKAY, THAT WAS THE CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF THE “TUNNEL TO TOWERS” FOUNDATION. OUR GOOD FRIEND FRANK SILLER. THE FOUNDATION OF COURSE HONORS AND HELPS THE FAMILIES OF THOSE WHO WERE LOST PROTECTING US AND NOW IT IS THE MOMENT WE HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR MARY. EXCITED ABOUT THIS. OVER 25,000 PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE GATHERED HERE FOR THIS DAY. A VERY SPECIAL DAY. I WANT TO WELCOME IN OUR GUEST TODAY, GREAT TO SEE ALL OF YOU. WE HAVE AMERICA’S MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI. I KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO HELP GET THIS RACE STARTED. THE 14th TIME. 14th TIME. GREAT TO SEE YOU. THANKS SO MUCH. ALEX GORSE THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD AND CEO OF JOHNSON & JOHNSON. AND OF COURSE WOODY JOHNSON OWNER OF THE JETS. GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE AS WELL WOODY. ARE WE READY? A COUNTDOWN, READY, FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE! [ CHEERING AND APPLAUSE ] AND THEY ARE OFF. MR. MAYOR, WE TALK ABOUT THIS BEING THE 14th ANNUAL I KNOW I ASKED YOU THIS EVERY YEAR BUT IT SEEMS TO GET BIGGER AND BIGGER. ISN’T THAT AMAZING? IT STARTED WITH 800. IT DOES GET BIGGER AND BIGGER. I WAS SO WORRIED ABOUT IT THE FIRST TIME BECAUSE THE TUNNEL WAS FILLED WITH DEBRIS AND IT WAS VERY DANGEROUS. BUT FRANK WANTED TO GO AHEAD WITH IT. HE TALKED ME INTO IT. AND NOW, I’M — BEEN INVOLVED WITH FRANK FOR 14 YEARS. AND FIRST WE TOOK CARE OF THE FAMILIES OF THE 9/11 VICTIMS AND NOW, WE’RE TAKING CARE OF OUR CATASTROPHICALLY WOUNDED WARRIORS. IT’S A WONDERFUL WAY TO TURN EVIL INTO GOOD LIKE THE POPE TOLD US TO DO YESTERDAY AND THE DAY BEFORE. YEAR AFTER YEAR SO MANY PEOPLE COME HERE FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. WHAT AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE. I THINK IT REMINDS THEM OF WHAT HAPPENS TO US AND ALSO THAT GOOD TRIUMPHED OVER EVIL. THE SILLER FLAK TOO MANY THE — FAMILY TOOK THE LOSS OF THEIR BELOVED YOUNG BROTHER AND TURNED IT INTO SAVING FAMILIES AND SAVING LIVES AND GIVING MEN WHO HAVE LOST THEIR LIMBS THE POSSIBILITY OF HAVING A DECENT LIFE. WE DEFEATED TERRORISM AT LEAST IN THAT BATTLE. YOU SEE ALL THE FIREFIGHTERS HERE THAT RETRACE THE STEPS AS YOU JUST MENTIONED. SOME OF OUR INJURED SERVICEMEN WHO ARE BACK HERE. I KNOW THERE ARE A LOT OF EVENTS IN THIS CITY. ALL THAT TAKE ON KIND OF A LIFE OF THEIR OWN, BUT THIS IS REALLY TURNED A INTO — EVERY ONE OF THE MEN PARTICULARLY THE SOLDIERS HAS TO BE THINKING HOW BRAVE WAS STEPHEN SILLER? HE COULD SEE THE FIRE, HE WAS STANDING HERE. HE DIDN’T STAY HOME. HE COULD HAVE. HE WAS OFF-DUTY. HE RAN TO THE FIRE. HE RAN TO HIS DEATH. IN ORDER TO SAVE OTHER PEOPLE. WHAT KIND OF EXAMPLE CAN YOU HAVE FOR MEN AND WOMEN LIKE AT WEST POINT? THE CADETS, THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO FOR US! AS WE MENTIONED IT’S BIGGER AND BIGGER AND BIGGER. THAT’S SOMETHING THAT WE’RE ALL HAPPY AND HONORED TO SEE. EACH AND EVERY YEAR. CBS FOR COVERING IT BECAUSE — BROADCASTS IT OUT TO THE ENTIRE NATION AND WE NEED TO HEAR MESSAGES LIKE THIS. CAN’T GET THE WORD OUT ENOUGH. MR. MAYOR THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME. REALLY A PLEASURE EACH AND EVERY YEAR. MY PLEASURE. THIS RUN IS AN EMOTIONAL JOURNEY FOR ALL WHO PARTICIPATE. AS WE HONOR THOSE WHO PERISHED ON 9/11. IT’S AN OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK BACK IN REVERENCE AND LOOK FORWARD TO THE GOOD. THE FOUNDATION IS DOING FOR MANY DESERVING PEOPLE IN STEPHEN SILLER’S NAME. ♪ ♪ ♪ THE SOUND OF 25,000 PEOPLE RUNNING IN HONOR OF STEPHEN SILLER AND ALL OF THOSE LOST ON 9/11 IS INDEED A BEAUTIFUL SOUND. THE “TUNNEL TO TOWERS” FOUNDATION TOOK ONE OF THE DARKEST DAYS IN AMERICAN HISTORY AND TURNED IT INTO A TESTMENT TO THE RESILIENCY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THE CHARITY THAT WAS CREATED IN STEPHEN SILLER’S NAME HAS RAISED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND HELPED THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE OVER THE PAST 14 YEARS. THE “TUNNEL TO TOWERS” FOUNDATION IS AN ENDURING LEGACY OF BRAVERY AND ALTRUISM THAT PAYS HOMAGE TO THE POWER OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT. STEPHEN’S ACT OF COURAGE IS EMULATED YEARLY BY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO LITERALLY FOLLOW IN STEPHEN SILLER’S FOOTSTEPS. ♪ ♪ THE RACE IS AN EXTREMELY EMOTIONAL DAY AS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE RUN IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF A HERO. ON SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001, STEPHEN WORKED AN OVERNIGHT SHIFT AT BROOKLYN’S SQUAD ONE. HE WAS ON HIS WAY TO MEET HIS BROTHERS TO PLAY GOLF WHEN THE NEWS OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK CAME ACROSS THE SCANNER. HE TURNED AROUND AND GRABBED HIS TURNOUT GEAR INSTEAD OF HIS CLUBS. TRAFFIC WAS HALTED AT THE BROOKLYN BATTERY TUNNEL BUT THAT DID NOT STOP HIM. UNDAUNTED HE STRAPPED ON 60 POUNDS OF GEAR AND RAN THROUGH THE TUNNEL. AND INTO HISTORY. I’M SURE HE WAS RUNNING AND SAYING GOD YOU KNOW, I HAVE CHILDREN. BUT HIS JOB WAS TO SAVE PEOPLE AND THAT OVERCAME EVERYTHING. WHEN THE BUILDING WENT DOWN I TURNED TO MY MOTHER-IN-LAW AND I SAID — I SAID NANCY, I THINK I JUST LOST MY BROTHER. ON THAT DAY, WE LOST 342 OF STEPHEN’S FIRE FIGHTING BRETHREN AND OUR COUNTRY WAS BROUGHT INTO A WAR. TAKING CARE OF THE MEN WHO PROTECT OUR FREEDOM HAS BECOME THE BATTLE CRY FOR THE FOUNDATION. THEIR PROGRAM BUILDING FOR AMERICA’S BRAVEST DESIGNS AND CONSTRUCTS SMART HOMES FOR THE MOST CRITICALLY WOUNDED SOLDIERS. THESE HOMES PERSONALLY DESIGNED FOR EACH SERVICEMAN TO MEET THEIR SPECIFIC NEEDS WITH THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY. GIVING THESE HEROES A NEW SENSE OF INDEPENDENCE. ♪ ♪ “TUNNEL TO TOWERS” GAVE ME ONE THING THAT I GUESS EVERY SINGLE CITIZEN WANTS TO HAVE. FREEDOM TOLL OWN YOUR OWN HOUSE. THE “TUNNEL TO TOWERS” RUN STARTED ADDS A SMALL GRASSROOTS REMEMBRANCE IN 2002 WITH 2500 RUNNERS. IT’S NOW AN INTERNATIONAL EVENT WITH RUNNERS COMING FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. THE 14th ANNUAL RACE IS EXPECTED TO DRAW OVER 25,000 RUNNERS, THE RACE IS THE HIGHEST PROFILE AND LARGEST FUNDRAISING EVENT OF THE YEAR. THEY RAISE A MAJORITY OF FUNDS THROUGH CORPORATE DONATIONS FROM GMC, JOHNSON AND JOHNSON, THE NEW YORK JETS, HOME DEPOT, AND CARPET ONE. WHEN WE MADE THE COMMITMENT TO BUILD MANY OF THESE HOMES, I WAS VERY CONCERNED THAT HOW WE WERE GOING TO BE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS WITH THESE LARGE GREAT COMPANIES COMING ON BOARD, NOW I KNOW THAT WE’RE GOING TO GET THE MISSION COMPLETED AND BUILD ALL THESE HOUSES. ♪ THEY ALSO RAISED FUNDS BY PERSONAL DONATIONS AND SIGNATURE EVENTS. THIS YEAR, THE ULTRA EXCLUSIVE LIBERTY NATIONAL GOLF CLUB WAS THE SETTING FOR A FUNDRAISING OUTING AND AUCTION. SOLD TO THE YOUNG THAN FOR $4,000 RIGHT THERE. Reporter: THE EVENT RAISED OVER $500,000 WITH THE AMERICA’S MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI SERVING AS THE HOST OF THE EVENT. FRANKLY WE NEED A LOT OF MONEY TO BUILD THESE HOMES FOR — OUR BRAVEST. AND OUR BIGGEST HEROES WHO UNFORTUNATELY, BECAUSE OF THE ISLAMIC TERRORIST WAR ON US, THESE MEN HAVE LOST THEIR LIMBS. THEY NEED HOMES THAT ARE SPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR THEM. THE “TUNNEL TO TOWERS” FOUNDATION HAS RAISED AN INCREDIBLE $50 MILLION SINCE 2002. ONE THING IS FOR SURE. THE VOICES OF EVERYONE WHO SUPPORTS THE FOUNDATION ARE HEARD LOUD AND CLEAR. IT WILL SILLER FAMILY — THE SILLER FAMILY CERTAINLY HEARING THE VOICES OUT HERE TODAY. FOR THE PAST 14 YEARS THEY HAVE MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE TO THOUSANDS OF LIVES IN THE COUNTRY. IT’S REALLY INCREDIBLE AND IT’S FUNNY, “TUNNEL TO TOWERS” THEY COME TO THE AID OF ALL NEW YORKERS IN NEED AND NEVER WAS THAT MORE PREVALENT THAN WHEN TWO NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICERS WERE KILLED. THE FOUNDATION STEPPED IN AND HELPED THEM OUT IMMEDIATELY. Ki 3w) BREAKING 6v A GUNMAN AMBUSHES TWO POLICE OFFICERS. KILLING BOTH OF THEM JUST DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS. WHEN NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICERS WENJIAN LIU AND RAFAEL RAMOS WERE SENSELESSLY MURDERED, THE “TUNNEL TO TOWERS” FOUNDATION REACTED IMMEDIATELY. WE WANT TO PAY THEIR MORTGAGES OFF IN FULL. SO THEY DON’T HAVE THAT BURDEN OR THAT WORRY BECAUSE THEY HAVE ENOUGH TO GO THROUGH. BUT AS IMPORTANT AS THE MONEY PART, IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT WE SHOW AS A COMMUNITY THAT WE COME TOGETHER. WE OWE THESE FAMILIES. PLEASE. BE AS — BE AS GENEROUS AS YOU CAN BE. AND IT’S GOING TO MAKE YOU FEEL SO MUCH BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF. AND ABOUT YOU KNOW WHAT A WONDERFUL CITY WE ARE THAT WE ALL COME TOGETHER AND LET’S ALL CONTRIBUTE. IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AFTER THE INITIAL PRESS CONFERENCE, THE “TUNNEL TO TOWERS” FOUNDATION WAS ABLE TO CALL A SPECIAL PRESS CONFERENCE WITH INCREDIBLE NEWS ABOUT THEIR GOAL TO PAY OFF BOTH MORTGAGES. 10,000 PEOPLE CAME TO OUR WEBSITE AND DONATED OR SENT A CHECK IN. AND WE’RE SO PROUD TO SAY THAT WE HAVE SURPASSED OUR GOAL. WE WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND OUR GRACIOUS GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION TO EVERYONE WHO GAVE THEIR GENEROUS CONTRIBUTION DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME. NOTHING WILL EVER BRING MY BROTHER BACK. BUT JUST TO KNOW THAT — THE BOYS CAN SLEEP JUST A LITTLE BIT BETTER AMIDST THIS TRAGEDY. FEELS A LITTLE BIT OF — FILLS A LITTLE BIT OF THE GAP. THEY WERE ABLE TO NOT ONLY PAY OFF BOTH MORTGAGES BUT ALSO RENOVATE BOTH HOMES. . THIS HAS BEEN VERY SPECIAL TO US, TO OUR FAMILY. YOU KNOW, WE — TO OUR MOST DIFFICULT TIME, EVERYBODY HAS HELPED US. THE “TUNNEL TO TOWERS” FOUNDATION HAS SUPPORTED NEW YORK’S BRAVES SINCE THE IN– 0SM? BRAVEST SINCE THE INCEPTION yyO5 Z X ?2r.x@YORK’S FINEST WAS HONORED BY POLICE COMMISSIONER BRATTON. IT WAS VERY GRATIFYING THAT THE ORGANIZATION “TUNNEL TO TOWERS” WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY FORMED TO BE SUPPORTIVE TO FIREFIGHTERS THAT THE TRAGIC DEATHS UPHEAVER DETECTIVES THAT — OF OUR DETECTIVES THAT IS PART OF THAT RENEWED LAWN OF SUPPORT FOR EACH OTHER. THEY EXTENDED THAT SUPPORT. AND IN A BIG WAY. THIS TRIBUTE CERTAINLY CAME OUT OF THAT EVENT. AND WE WILL BE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL FOR IT. [ APPLAUSE ] AND MARY JUST TO BE CLEAR, “TUNNEL TO TOWERS” STARTED OUT AS A FOUNDATION THAT BASICALLY HELPED 9/11 FIREFIGHTERS AND THOSE KILLED ON 9/11. BUT OVER THE YEARS IT’S NOW EVOLVED TO BASICALLY HELPING ALL OF THE FAMILIES OF ANYONE WHO WAS KILLED OR INJURED PROTECTING US, WHICH GOES TO SAY HOW BIG A FOUNDATION AND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO THE COUNTRY. GREAT CAUSE, OVER TO YOU LOU YOUNG NOW. YEAH, THERE’S A — FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR, POLICE OFFICER BANNERS MIXED IN WITH THE FIREFIGHTER BANNERS HERE OF THOSE FALLEN ON 9/11. AND WE ALSO KNOW THAT THE FALLEN POLICE OFFICERS,LIU AND RAMOS WERE REALLY FINANCIALLY HONORED BY THE STEPHEN SILLER FOUNDATION WITH THE PAYING OF THEIR MORTGAGES. WE HAVE INSPECTOR JOSEPH GAY LIEU CHI, THIS MUST HAVE REALLY GOT TO YOU. IT’S GREAT. IT’S TREMENDOUS THAT THE ORGANIZATION IS — IS SUPPORTING THE LIU AND RAMOS FAMILY. IT SHOWS THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT REALLY DO CARE. A LOT ABOUT WHAT WE DO. AND SOME OF THOSE 23 NYPD OFFICERS YOU KNEW THEM. ABSOLUTELY. YES. I THINK WE ALL KNEW SOMEBODY. BUT YES. AND TO SEE THEIR FACES? IT’S VERY EMOTIONAL. BRINGS BACK A LOT OF MEMORIES. AND IT’S — IT’S JUST A TREMENDOUS THING THAT YOU KNOW THIS ORGANIZATION IS HONORING. THEIR LEGACY. INSPECTOR GALLUCCI, THE BANNERS ARE RIGHT UP THERE IF YOU WANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT THEM AND OVER HERE WE ARE LIEUTENANT ROBERT VOTE. THE NEPHEW OF STEPHEN SILLER FOR WHOM THIS RACE IS — IS REALLY AN HONOR OF. AND TELL ME NOW ABOUT THE EXPANSION OF THIS. BEYOND FIREFIGHTERS TO INCLUDE POLICE OFFICERS. IT REALLY SHOWS THAT YOU GUYS ARE — KIND OF A UNIFORM FAMILY. YES, ABSOLUTELY. THIS FOUNDATION KEEPS EVOLVING. FIRST IT WAS ABOUT JUST MY UNCLE STEVE SILLER AND THEN ABOUT 43 AND THE WOUNDED SOLE YEARS AND NOW — SOLDIERS AND NOW ABOUT THE POLICE OFFICERS LIU AND RAMOS WHO WERE UNFORTUNATELY ASSASSINATED LAST YEAR. ROBERT VOTE THE NEPHEW OF STEPHEN SILLER. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. WAYNE CARTWRIGHT. COMMANDER AND BROOKLYN BOROUGH COMMANDER FOR FDNY. BACK TO BROOKLYN. ALL RIGHT, LOU THANKS SO MUCH. MR. MAYOR JOINING US ONCE AGAIN. WANT TO ASK YOU A QUESTION ABOUT WENJIAN LIU AND RAFAEL RAMOS’ FAMILY. WHAT THE FOUNDATION HAS DONE FOR THEM. AND THEIR TIME OF NEED. WELL, I WENT TO VISIT THE LIU FAMILY. THEY TOLD ME THEY DIDN’T KNOW IF THEY COULD PAY THE MORTGAGE. I IMMEDIATELY CALLED JOHN AND JOHN CALLED FRANK AND WE GOT TOGETHER AND FRANK USED THE FOUNDATION THE RAISE $1.2 MILLION TO PAY OFF THEIR MORTGAGES AND TO FIX THEIR HOMES. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU THIS IS STILL HAPPENING 14 YEARS LATER? SO MANY PEOPLE OUT HERE. IT MEANS THE PEOPLE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN. PEOPLE REMEMBER. PEOPLE APPRECIATE THE SACRIFICE MADE BY THE MEN ON SEPTEMBER 11th. AND THEN THOSE MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE CARRYING THAT ON TODAY. SO — IT SHOWS WHAT A GREAT COUNTRY WE ARE. AND IN PARTICULAR WHAT A GREAT CITY WE ARE. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. GREAT TO SEE YOU EACH AND EVERY YEAR, WE DO GREATLY APPRECIATE IT. I APPRECIATE IT. AS YOU CAN SEE THE RUNNERS BEHIND US THEY’RE GOING OFF IN WAVES. MARY IT’S BEEN ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE MORNINGS. NOT ONLY EMOTIONAL, BUT ALSO POWERFUL TO SEE THE PEOPLE COMING OUT. TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ONCE AGAIN TO SUPPORT THIS FOUNDATION AND STEPHEN SILLER THE STEPS REPLACED IN THE BROOKLYN BATTERY TUNNEL. AND NOW OVER TO MAURICE AND KRISTINE TO TAKE US THE REST OF THE WAY. OKAY THANK YOU SO MUCH GUYS, WE’RE SEEING SOME SPECIAL PEOPLE CROSSING THE FINISH LINE RIGHT NOW. AND YOU JUST FEELING THE EMOTION THROUGHOUT LOWER MANHATTAN THIS MORNING. WE HAVE MUCH MORE FOR YOU COMING UP THIS MORNING INCLUDING VINCENT PASTORE FROM THE SOPRANOS. DON’T MISS THAT. YOU’LL HEAR MORE ABOUT THE BUILDING FOR AMERICA’S BRAYEST PROGRAM AND THE IMPACT THE SMART HOMES ARE MAKING ALL OVER THE COUNTRY AND FOR THE WOUNDED

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