14 September 2007

Tunnel To Towers Run

I've signed up for the 5K Tunnel To Towers Run, scheduled for Sunday, September 30. Every year before, I would know about the Run in the news, after it had happened. So last year I entered a reminder in my Google Calendar. I totally forgot about it but the Google brain didn't and sure enough a reminder was sent at the scheduled time. I even managed to sign up early enough to avoid the $10 late fee.

The Run commemorates Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Firefighter Stephen Siller's last heroic act. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Siller was already off-duty but tried to get back to work when news of the World Trade Center terrorist attack reached him. He tried to drive into Manhattan from Brooklyn but wasn't allowed to. He then ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the WTC site, in full FDNY gears, and was last seen at West and Liberty Streets in Manhattan. He probably entered the WTC inferno and perished with all of his squad. The Run retraces his steps from the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel through the Tunnel to the WTC site.

Heroic tales inspire me. Some people say that raising kids and just doing one's part in life is heroic enough. I disagree. There are heroic and non-heroic acts and Siller's last action was heroic. The pro-Jew New York Post calls every U.S. soldier in Iraq a hero. While it's great that some people give up years of their civilian life to serve the country, there are still differences between the guy who runs through enemy fire to rescue comrades versus some guy who just drives an armor truck in a convoy. Along the same vein, in the argument of having a separate memorial for firefighters who lost their lives at the WTC, apart from the regular office workers, I'm all for the separation. It is definitely sad that many people lost their lives, but I think those who risked their lives to save others, and died in the process, deserve a higher recognition.

Perhaps from my teen years reading propaganda literature of the Vietnamese communist government, I fancy myself someday doing some heroic works. I certainly didn't go through with the wish one time in Brooklyn. At that time, we lived in northern Brooklyn, near the border of Queens. It was, and still is, a bad neighborhood. One night my father was coming home late so my mother and I waited for him at the subway station to walk home together, strength in number and all. During the wait, some drunk guy was in the station with us and some other guy showed up. They had some argument and a loud noise was heard. My mother and I were not far from the two. As the argument progressed, I inched toward the exit to the street. When the loud noise happened, I ran up the stairs very quickly, leaving my mother behind. By the time I came back the two guys have disappeared somewhere. My mother still mocks me every time and I cannot blame her. I guess I'm not made for heroic acts.


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