Ten Years Later: NASCAR Remembers

Siller, a member of the NYFD, lost his life on 9/11/01
By Michelle Fannin
Lionel NASCAR Collectables

Never forget.

That’s a phrase that is being spoken a lot this week. Never forget the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Never forget the spirit of oneness that united Americans just after the September 11 tragedy. Never forget those heroes who braved certain injury and possible to death to rescue their fellow citizens.

Ten years after those two hijacked planes shattered the peaceful blue of a Tuesday morning, we remember.

We remember heroes like Stephen Siller, who was off-duty that day. When he heard about the first plane hitting the Twin Towers, he did what he was trained to do. He tried to find his squad.

When he couldn't, he tried to drive to the scene of the attack. That failed as well. So Stephen, not one to be easily deterred, strapped nearly 70 pounds of firefighting gear on his back and ran.

While thousands of shocked, terrified people were running from the billows of smoke and clouds of ash, Stephen ran towards it. He ran more than three miles towards it. And he got there in time to help rescue others. To do his job.

Stephen died doing his job that day. The Siller family believes he died when the South Tower collapsed - the place where he was last seen.

This weekend, we remember Stephen. And we remember the other 342 firefighters who died with him. The 342 other families who, like the Sillers, suffered an unspeakable loss. Who have a Dad who will never come home. A brother who will never tee up on the golf course. A son who will never grow old.

But Stephen’s story isn't the end of the impact of September 11, 2001. Because of those attacks, thousands of our bravest men and women enlisted in the U.S. Armed Services.

After watching the flames leap out from the Pentagon, seeing the crash site of Shanksville, Penn. and the tons of rubble where the World Trade Center once stood, they found it impossible not to act.

This weekend we remember them. We remember the thousands of U.S. servicemen who will never come home. And we remember the thousands more who did come home – but to a vastly different life than what they had when they deployed.

U.S. Army Specialist Brendan Marrocco is such a soldier. Brendan was hit by an Explosive Fired Projectile while riding through Iraqi terrain on Easter Sunday morning. Brendan lost both his arms and both his legs in the attack. And he survived.

United States Marine Corporal Todd Nicely was leading a patrol of 12 men through the Helmand Province of Afghanistan when he stepped on a plate and was severely wounded. He too lost both his arms and legs in the blast. He too survived.

Both Brendan and Todd will be the guests of Lionel NASCAR Collectables at Richmond International Raceway and will lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance just before the Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night.

We consider it a privilege to thank them for their service, honor them for their sacrifice and share with them a memorable and exciting NASCAR weekend.

And Stephen Siller will be with us in spirit. Stephen’s family, through the Foundation that bears their brother’s name, has raised funds to build Brendan and Todd customized “smart” homes. Brendan received his house in June.  Construction on Todd’s home will start soon.

We are honored to have had a part in contributing to those funds. We are fortunate to work with a community of drivers, teams and sponsors who have embraced the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s cause.

And, most importantly, we remember.
Ten Years Later: NASCAR Remembers Ten Years Later: NASCAR Remembers Reviewed by Admin on Saturday, September 10, 2011 Rating: 5