After Stephen Siller died serving as a firefighter during the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, his family started a traveling exhibition so people wouldn’t forget the people who died that day.
And the 9/11 Never Forget exhibit was not alone as it made its way down to the Elkhart County 4-H Fair late Tuesday afternoon, July 28.
Local motorcycle clubs and fire engines led the truck carrying the 9/11 Never Forget exhibit as it made its way from Elkhart to Goshen. The motorcade set off from the parking lot by the North Side Middle School gymnasium almost three hours late at 5:20 p.m. after the truck got a flat tire on its way from Fort Wayne to Goshen, Goshen firefighter and organizer Donald Showalter said.
Families sat in the back of parked cars or stood on their porches to watch the procession as it passed through Elkhart. The motorcade would then travel down along C.R. 20 and U.S. 33; through downtown Goshen before coming to a stop at the fairgrounds. The procession, in total, was expected to take about an hour, according to the Elkhart County 4-H Fair website.
The Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation started the exhibition in 2013, which features documentary videos, first responder radio transmissions and objects from the site of the attacks, such as one of the towers’ steel beams. The exhibit will be open for free from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, to Friday, July 31, near Commercial Exhibit Building A. There will also be at least four New York City firefighters who will give tours.
“I think we need to recognize, as a country, as a city, as a town, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, whether it be firemen, (emergency management services) or military… ” said Showalter, who rode his motorcycle to represent The Axemen motorcycle club of North America. “We just need to dedicate some time and some effort and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
Engine 343 with the Nappanee Fire Department was one of the fire trucks that led the procession. The fire department received the fire truck on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and named it after the 343 emergency service members who died that day.
“We just found it fitting to honor all the lives and continue the remembrance of the loss of the lives of our brothers and sisters in service,” Nappanee fire captain Ryan Miller said.