9/11 memorial truck coming to Tempe

Jan 15, 2014, 5:00 AM | Updated: 5:00 am

There will soon be a new way to not only commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks but also to educate children about that unforgettable day.

The country’s only “9/11 Never Forget” mobile exhibit will roll into Tempe on Jan. 24 and 25.

Adults and kids alike will be able to visit the exhibit, which will be parked at Toliver’s Carpet One Floor and Home Store at 1920 E. Apache Blvd. Inside are several pictures and mini exhibits.

“We have World Trade Center steel that firefighters carved crosses into that signify all of the particular people in their firehouse that we’re killed,” said Catherine Christman of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which sponsors the exhibit. The foundation is named after Stephen Siller, one of the New York City firefighters who died that day. Christman is Siller’s cousin.

Siller was off-duty and driving in his truck when he heard the calls over his scanner that a plane had hit the tower. He drove to his fire station, which he found deserted, grabbed his equipment and tried to drive to the towers through a tunnel, only to find it blocked. Siller left his truck and ran through the tunnel in the direction of the towers.

Siller was never seen alive again and his body has never been found.

Christman said there is an unusual reminder of Siller that is part of the exhibit.

“The last time anyone spotted Stephen Siller was on Liberty Street in downtown Manhattan,” said Christman. “After 9/11, someone found an almost-destroyed sign that said ‘Liberty Street’ on it. That’s part of the exhibit.”

A few New York City firefighters who were at Ground Zero that day will also be at the exhibit to talk with visitors.

The goal of the exhibit is to honor those who died and to teach American children about the attacks.

“What happened on 9/11 will probably impact most of their lives, in terms of foreign policy, and so few of them know so little about it,” Christman said.

The exhibit will be free to the public.

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