The Long Walk: 3 Veterans, 3 Dogs and a 100-Mile Journey to Ground Zero

Michelle Caffrey NJ.com

PHILADELPHIA — It wasn’t easy. When Andrew Einstein returned home after his second deployment overseas as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, he admits that like many veterans, he struggled to readjust to a civilian life.

But then, Einstein found Gunner.

Andrew Einstein, a Westampton police officer and former Marine, kisses his service dog Gunner, before they walk from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to One World Trade Center in New York City. Joe Warner  for NJ.com

Andrew Einstein, a Westampton police officer and former Marine, kisses his service dog Gunner, before they walk from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to One World Trade Center in New York City. Joe Warner for NJ.com

Or, as Einstein tells the story of how the silver lab puppy repeatedly pushed his way to Einstein when he went to match up with a service dog, Gunner found him.

“He saved my life,” said Einstein without hesitation, as he stood with Gunner just feet from The Liberty Bell, not long after the sun rose over the heart of Philadelphia’s historic district. “That’s the best way to put it.”

The powerful influence Gunner has had in helping Einstein, now a Westampton Township police officer, overcome the effects of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is one of the main reasons he met up with fellow former Marine sergeants and current Philadelphia firefighters Devon Richio and Steven Walls at the historic landmark early Tuesday morning. Read More »

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Manhattan Student Olivia Siller Strives to Make a Difference as a Tribute to Fallen Father on 9/11

Manhattan

On September 11, 2001, firefighter Stephen Siller raced through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel with 60 pounds of gear on his back to get to the Twin Towers and help save others. Sadly, Siller did not survive 9/11 and left behind his wife and five children, including Olivia Siller ’18, now a communication major at Manhattan. Olivia and her family honor Siller’s memory through the ongoing work of The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

“My Dad’s best friend [William Codd] was thinking of ideas of how to start a foundation that my Dad would love — something that would not only honor him but every fireman and first responder,” Olivia says.

Olivia Siller ’18 works alongside family to promote the mission of her father’s legacy, The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Olivia Siller ’18 works alongside family to promote the mission of her father’s legacy, The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

The foundation was established in late 2001 and started initially as a yearly run in New York City to trace Stephen’s last steps. The mission of the foundation is to honor Siller’s sacrifice, as well as the military and first responders who make the ultimate sacrifice of life and limb for the U.S. There were 5,000 participants in the first Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk in New York City, and in 2014, the number increased to more than 30,000 (including 150 firefighters from London who run in full gear). Manhattan College alumnus Hon. Rudolph W. Giuliani ’65, former mayor of New York City, is chairman of the annual run.

Olivia was just five years old when she lost her father, while Stephen was orphaned at a young age. The youngest of seven children, he was raised by his older siblings, who all resided or moved back to Staten Island after 9/11 to help Olivia’s mother and siblings. Having lost 12 members including Stephen on 9/11, Squad 1 and the greater FDNY has also remained a constant part of the Siller family. Read More »

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Literature of 9/11 college class accused of being ‘sympathetic towards terrorism’

Michael Schaub Los Angeles Times

A student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has raised concerns about the school’s Literature of 9/11 seminar course, claiming the required readings for the class are “sympathetic towards terrorism.”

Alec Dent, a freshman journalism major at UNC, hasn’t taken the class or read any of the books on the syllabus, but said he’s concerned that the class isn’t “fair and balanced,” reports WRAL-TV. “The more research I did into it, the more it seemed like the readings were sympathetic towards terrorism,” Dent said.

The class, taught by UNC associate professor Neel Ahuja, requires students to read books including Mohsin Hamid’s novel “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” Philip Metres’ poetry collection “Sand Opera” and Art Spiegelman’s graphic memoir “In the Shadow of No Towers.”

Dent criticized the class in an article he wrote for the College Fix, a conservative website. In the article, Dent claimed that the materials on the course’s syllabus “present terrorists in a sympathetic light and American political leaders as greedy, war hungry and corrupt.” Read More »

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