For me, that day was an ordinary day as I prepared to go to work at the Navy base. I learned very quickly that my former office in the Pentagon had been destroyed and people that I had worked with had died.
Stephen Siller, assigned to Brooklyn’s Squad 1, had just finished his shift and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he got word over his scanner of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Upon hearing the news, Stephen called his wife Sally and asked her to tell his brothers he would catch up with them later. He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear.
Stephen drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it had already been closed for security purposes. Determined to carry out his duty, he strapped 60 lbs. of gear to his back and raced on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he gave up his life while saving others.
Stephen had everything to live for a great wife, five wonderful children, a devoted extended family, and friends. Stephen’s parents were lay Franciscans, and he grew up under the guiding philosophy of St. Francis of Assisi, whose encouraging and inspirational phrase “while we have time, let us do good” were words that Stephen lived by. Stephen’s life and heroic death serve as a reminder to us all to live life to the fullest and to spend our time here on earth doing good.
I can never forget, I will always remember, I will always say their name. Escorting the memorial into Ridgecrest was a great honor. I will not forget that. Tell the story to our young ones. Freedom is not Free.