Never Forget 9/11 truck

MOUNT VERNON – Ariel-Foundation Park will host the Tunnel to Towers Foundation NEVER FORGET 9/11 Mobile Exhibit on Saturday, Aug. 24, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The exhibit will include a variety of artifacts from Ground Zero along with actual 9/11 first responders to guide visitors through the exhibit.

In 2013, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation launched its 9/11 NEVER FORGET Mobile Exhibit – a tribute to all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, including the 343 members of the FDNY who made the ultimate sacrifice. The high-tech, 53-foot tractor-trailer, which transforms into a 1,000-square-foot exhibit, is a tool to further educate citizens throughout the country about the events of that tragic day.

Welcomed around the country, the memorial provides interactive education including artifacts such as steel beams from the towers, documentary videos, and recordings of first responder radio transmissions. Interactive guided tours are carried out by FDNY firefighters who provide firsthand accounts of the day and its aftermath.

The 9/11 NEVER FORGET Mobile Exhibit, which has traveled to nearly 50 states and Canada, has welcomed in over 350,000 people to date. The exhibit is wheelchair accessible.

Also taking place at the park that day is the Rastin Challenge, a series of intense physical challenges for first responders. A family fun run, organized by the Get Healthy Knox County Coalition, will kick the day off at 8:30 a.m. (registration at 8).

The opening ceremony featuring special guest speakers will begin in the Schnormeier Event Center at 9 a.m. Special guests include 9/11 firefighter Joe Gavitt, 9/11 NYPD police officer John Lambkin, and Jody Shelley from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“We encourage the public to take advantage of this opportunity to hear from 9/11 first responders and also to interact with Ohio first responders as they showcase their skills in a variety of challenges,” said event organizer Melanie Bolender. “This is a rare and unique chance for families to learn about and remember 9/11 while also honoring the everyday heroes who protect and serve our local communities.”

The exhibit is made possible through the generous support of Mount Vernon businessman Tom Rastin.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is committed to ensuring "WE NEVER FORGET." On September 11, 2001, Siller, who was 34 years old, 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. Siller 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. For more information, visit www.tunnel2towers.org.

For more information regarding the day’s events or the Rastin Challenge, visit www.arielfoundationpark.org/rastin or call 740-398-6603.

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