Inform, Entertain, Inspire
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mobile 9/11 exhibit visits Elkhart asking us to never forget

If you see a motorcade coming into Elkhart at about 1 p.m. Tuesday, that will be the traveling 9/11 Never Forget Mobile Exhibit

Where were you the morning of Sept. 11, 2001? If you’re older than about 30, you probably remember that morning very clearly.

Retired New York City firefighter Pat Clancy remembers. He was off that morning, mowing his lawn in Long Island, when his wife called him inside to look at the TV.

Clancy grabbed a neighbor firefighter and they rushed to the firehouse to gear up. They reached the World Trade Center by about 11:30 a.m., about an hour after the second tower fell. They were eager to save people.

"The collapse field was so huge," Clancy said. "We figured we would be picking up bodies and maybe handing them to EMS but we didn't find anybody and it was kind of frustrating for us, after five or six hours, saying, 'Where are all these people?'"

Clancy is part of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, the nonprofit that helps retired police, firefighters and veterans. He’ll speak at an opening ceremony Wednesday at 11 a.m. in a parking lot at 240 E. Jackson Boulevard, next to Beacon Health and Aquatic Center.

The free exhibit will then be open Wednesday and Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The "towers" part of the group's name is obvious but what about the "tunnel?" That's a tribute to Firefighter Stephen Siller. Still had just finished his shift at a Brooklyn station that morning and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he heard about the attacks.

Like Clancy, Siller rushed to gear up and headed toward Manhattan. But he found authorities had closed the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel as a security measure.

Undeterred, Siller, dressed in 60 pounds of gear, ran three miles to the World Trade Center. There, he and the rest of his company were killed in the south tower when it collapsed 56 minutes after the second plane hit it. The 34-year-old was married with five children.

Siller's brother Frank founded Tunnel to Towers, which has raised and spent more than $500 million. The charity has spent more than $500 million to provide mortgage-free homes to injured first responders and veterans, and to house homeless veterans.

More than 650,000 people have seen the mobile exhibit.

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).