Tunnel to Towers announces ceremony to commemorate service members who died in War on Terror

The Tunnel to Towers organization announced Thursday that it will commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with a reading of the name of every U.S. military service member who has fallen during the War on Terror

Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Tunnel to Towers (T2T) CEO Frank Siller, joined by Reps. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y.; Congressman Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and Brian Mast, R-Fla., laid out plans to commemorate the milestone. 

The ceremony will take place on Veterans Day this year, and the reading will occur on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, as well. 

Tunnel to Towers Foundation CEO Frank Siller speaks on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 2021. Tunnel to Towers announced a ceremony to commemorate fallen service members in the War on Terror, whose names will be read on Veteran's Day in the same location. 

Tunnel to Towers Foundation CEO Frank Siller speaks on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 2021. Tunnel to Towers announced a ceremony to commemorate fallen service members in the War on Terror, whose names will be read on Veteran’s Day in the same location.  (Tunnel to Towers Foundation)

“We realized that one of the biggest things, like myself, when you lose a family member is that you never forget,” Siller told Fox News. “I said ‘Oh my goodness, it’s 20 years.’ It’s about time that we read all these great heroes that sacrificed since 9/11 for this great country – that we read their names out loud.” 

The War on Terror, as termed by President George W. Bush shortly after the attack, has claimed the lives of 7,059 service members in the line of duty as the U.S. responded with military action in Afghanistan and other countries in the Middle East. 

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Active military members and Gold Star family members – families who have lost a loved one in active duty – will take turns reading the names, similar to how the 9/11 memorial reading is structured. 

The list will add any names of future service members who die on active duty. Siller said the foundation does not have plans for any reading other than the one this year and possibly at another anniversary year. 

Tunnel to Towers Foundation CEO Frank Siller speaks on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 2021. Tunnel to Towers announced a ceremony to commemorate fallen service members in the War on Terror, whose names will be read on Veteran's Day in the same location. 

Tunnel to Towers Foundation CEO Frank Siller speaks on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 2021. Tunnel to Towers announced a ceremony to commemorate fallen service members in the War on Terror, whose names will be read on Veteran’s Day in the same location.  (Tunnel to Towers Foundation)

“I think it’s very important that we do it,” Siller explained. “It’s a tremendous undertaking, and it’s something we want to do.” 

Siller said plans for the ceremony will try to hit the right tone of respect and patriotism, with some possible performances and additional tributes every hour. 

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“We’re going to have a lot of great people join us,” Siller said. “It’ll be very meaningful, and we’ll have the proper, respectful manner for these great heroes.” 

In addition to this tribute, Siller also plans to make a 500-mile walk from the Pentagon to Shanksville to Ground Zero, visiting the memorials that commemorate the lives lost to the attacks on 9/11. He will commence the walk on Aug. 1 and he hopes to time his arrival for 9/11 itself.  

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Siller started the Tunnel to Towers Foundation after his brother, Stephen, died along with the other 342 firefighters during the efforts to rescue and evacuate people from the Twin Towers before they collapsed. The foundation raises money to help families of severely injured or recently fallen veterans and first responders to provide them with mortgage-free homes

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