The 9/11 "Never Forget" exhibit, provided by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, will be on display in Fort Myers this month as part of the Edison Pageant of Light series of events. Edison Festival of Light, Inc., the non-profit organization responsible for the pageant, is coordinating the visit of the exhibit in southwest Florida.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was established by the Siller family in honor of their brother, Stephen, a New York City firefighter who lost his life on September 11, 2001. Stephen was off duty when he heard the news report of a plane hitting one of the Twin Towers. In response, he strapped on his gear and set off on a run through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers.
In 2013, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation created a mobile exhibit as a tribute to all whose lives were lost at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001.
The 1,000-square-foot exhibit includes artifacts of the events of 9/11, such as steel beams from the towers and fire truck parts. Photos, documentary videos, and first responder radio transmissions bring the event, and its aftermath, to life. Firefighters who were there will share their personal stories and conduct tours of the exhibit, and some of the surviving heroes of 9/11 will be honored as grand marshals in the Edison Pageant of Light parade on February 21.
The "Never Forget" exhibit, which is free to the public, will be open on Feb. 19, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Sam Galloway Ford dealership at 1800 Boy Scout Drive in Fort Myers.
"Sam Galloway has been a big part of supporting the Edison Festival of Light activities for many years and he stepped up to help sponsor this exhibit," said Karen Ryan, public relations manager for the Lee County Electric Cooperative, a major sponsor of the Edison Festival of Light.
Robert Galloway, vice president and general manager of Sam Galloway Ford, has visited the "Never Forget" exhibit in New York and said that, "It was absolutely incredible. Very moving. The stories you can hear of the first responders running headlong into that situation without any fear or reservationsit was amazing. For us to have even a small piece of that exhibit here in Fort Myers will be tremendous."
The 53-foot tractor trailer which houses the "Never Forget" exhibit will move on Feb. 20 to the Fort Myers downtown River District for the Edison Pageant of Light activities over the remainder of the weekend. These activities include:
Feb. 20-22 Edison Festival Crafts on the River Centennial Park 10 a.m. 4 p.m.
Feb. 21 Grand Parade Party on Edwards Drive 11 a.m. 7 p.m.
Feb. 21 Edison Festival of Light 5K Race Edwards Drive - 5 p.m.
Feb. 21 Edison Festival fireworks show Centennial Park 7 p.m.
The exhibit will close by 7 p.m., when the Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade begins at Fort Myers High, ending at Jackson and Second Street.
The "Never Forget" exhibit brings Ground Zero to Americans who are not able to visit the actual site. It also gives parents and teachers the opportunity to educate children about an unparalled event in U.S. history.
For more information about the Stephen Siller foundation, visit tunnel2towers.org.