Runners follow the path of the 9/11 hero in the Tunnels to Towers race.

Survivors of the September 11 terrorist attacks and veterans of the wars that followed were among the 32,000 people who lined up for Sunday’s Tunnels to Towers run to follow in the footsteps of fallen FDNY hero Stephen Siller.

The annual 5K event honors Siller for his remarkable run to the Red Hook World Trade Center towers through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel on the day of the deadly strikes.

Firefighters and their supporters said they felt an obligation to honor friends, colleagues and Americans who lost their lives in the attack.

“I have worked with over 100 people who died on 9/11. I had to be here,” said FDNY retiree Lou Andrade, 89, from Setauket, Long Island — who volunteered at Ground Zero in the grim days after the attacks.

“Today it’s a tradition for all firefighters to remember those we lost.”

Retired FDNY member Erika Schaub, 48, also from Setauket, said she “lost 15 friends in the towers on 9/11.”

“I was there with my task force,” she said.

Other runners said they attended to honor the role 9/11 played in shaping their lives.

“The whole reason I became a firefighter was 9/11,” said Nicole Attanasio, 40, of the Dumont, NJ Fire Department. “I want to feel the same sweat and pain as he (Stephen Sills) ran through the tunnel.”

Joe Palermo, 43, of Scotch Plains, NJ, said the attacks inspired him to enlist in the Army, where he served on five deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I went to the recruiter and asked them to expedite it. I signed the next day,” he said. “I run today to honor the fallen.” Runners follow the path of the 9/11 hero in the Tunnels to Towers race.


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