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9/11 memorial truck coming to Tempe

There will soon be a new way to not only commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks but also to educate children about that unforgettable day.

The country's only "9/11 Never Forget" mobile exhibit will roll into Tempe on Jan. 24 and 25.

Adults and kids alike will be able to visit the exhibit, which will be parked at Toliver's Carpet One Floor and Home Store at 1920 E. Apache Blvd. Inside are several pictures and mini exhibits.

"We have World Trade Center steel that firefighters carved crosses into that signify all of the particular people in their firehouse that we're killed," said Catherine Christman of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which sponsors the exhibit. The foundation is named after Stephen Siller, one of the New York City firefighters who died that day. Christman is Siller's cousin.

Siller was off-duty and driving in his truck when he heard the calls over his scanner that a plane had hit the tower. He drove to his fire station, which he found deserted, grabbed his equipment and tried to drive to the towers through a tunnel, only to find it blocked. Siller left his truck and ran through the tunnel in the direction of the towers.

Siller was never seen alive again and his body has never been found.

Christman said there is an unusual reminder of Siller that is part of the exhibit.

"The last time anyone spotted Stephen Siller was on Liberty Street in downtown Manhattan," said Christman. "After 9/11, someone found an almost-destroyed sign that said 'Liberty Street' on it. That's part of the exhibit."

A few New York City firefighters who were at Ground Zero that day will also be at the exhibit to talk with visitors.

The goal of the exhibit is to honor those who died and to teach American children about the attacks.

"What happened on 9/11 will probably impact most of their lives, in terms of foreign policy, and so few of them know so little about it," Christman said.

The exhibit will be free to the public.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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