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Mount Kisco’s emergency responders announced last week it will host the Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s 9/11 NEVER FORGET Mobile Exhibit the weekend immediately preceding the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks and on Sept. 11.
Paul Felice, a longtime Mount Kisco Fire Department member, informed the Village Board and the public during last Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting. He credited former village police chief Robert D’Agostino, who led the police department in 2001, for being instrumental in getting the exhibit to the village.
“We’re very proud and fortunate to have this exhibit in our community on Sept. 9, 10 and 11,” Felice said.
It’s been 10 years since the Tunnel to Towers Foundation organized the exhibit in an 83-foot-long tractor trailer. The exhibit includes steel from the trade center, aluminum façade from the buildings, radio transmissions from first responders and items found in the rubble after the towers collapsed. It also honors all those who died, including the 343 firefighters who perished that day, said Jackie Eaton, community liaison for the exhibit.
Since then, the exhibit has crisscrossed the country and has been seen by about 500,000 people in what will soon be 39 states (it will reach Nevada for the first time later this month), plus Washington, D.C. and two Canadian provinces, she said.
When it reaches Mount Kisco on the evening of Sept. 8, it will mark a first in its 10-year history.
“We’re so excited to be in the great state of New York for the 9/11 anniversary this year,” Eaton said. “Since we launched the 9/11 NEVER FORGET Mobile Exhibit in 2013, we have never been in New York for the anniversary.”
It will be located in a portion of the parking lot directly behind the Green Street firehouse and be open to the general public on Saturday, Sept. 9 and Sunday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Felice said.
The following day on the anniversary, students from the Bedford School District will be taken to the exhibit in 30-minute blocks to learn about the bravery of the first responders and that time in history.
John LaBarbera, a retired FDNY battalion chief and foundation board member, said those involved with the exhibit and the foundation are honored by the reception they’ve received from Mount Kisco and many other host communities.
He also explained why the exhibit was created.
“About 10 years ago, we felt it was important for two reasons to bring out an exhibit all across our great country,” LaBarbera said. “People have short memories; schoolchildren cannot learn and most people could not get to New York to see that site. Ten years ago, the 9/11 Mobile Exhibit was born.”
Tunnel to Towers was started by the family of the late New York City firefighter Stephen Siller, who was killed when the Twin Towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001. Siller worked at a Brooklyn firehouse and had gotten off duty earlier that morning, but when he heard a plane had struck the north tower, he went back to his firehouse, grabbed his gear and ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, which had been closed to traffic.
The foundation also raises money to build smart homes for catastrophically injured first responders and has also paid off about 300 mortgages of families of injured or deceased firefighters, LaBarbera said.
Mount Kisco officials said they feel fortunate to not only have the exhibit come to the community but on the anniversary weekend.
“I think we’re very lucky to have this,” said village Trustee Karen Schleimer. “It’s a tremendous reminder, it’s very touching for many of us who lived through much of it, and thank you for sharing it, bringing it.”
Felice said if anyone in the community wants to contribute to the Mount Kisco Fire Department, which is raising money to pay for the exhibit to come to the village, they can reach out to the department or write a check to the department and put 9/11 Memorial in the memo.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/