Jackson man works to honor the people who lost their lives on September 11th


JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)—Nestled in the Cascades in Jackson rests a piece of history. It’s steel from tower two that was recovered nearly 40 feet from under the rubble in ground zero and brought to this park to honor those who gave their lives on that September day.

“It’s a piece of history that cannot be forgotten, said Founder of Tunnels to Towers Jackson, Jan Ganzel.

Ganzel is also a Jackson firefighter. For him looking at this display is personal. He grew up in New York and lost several friends that day.

“There are stories of survival, there are stories from heroic actions.”

It’s stories of heroes like Stephen Siller, a New York firefighter who was off duty that day, but when he heard what happened he knew he had to do something.

“He grabbed his gear and stopped at his station. The truck had already left, got to Brooklyn when the tunnels we closed now for security reasons and he put his gear on and ran three and a half miles through the Brooklyn battery tunnel and was last seen catching up with his crew as he entered the towers moments before it collapsed,” said Ganzel.

It’s a sacrifice that inspired him to bring the organization Tunnel to Towers to Jackson, and this Saturday night the group will light up the stairs at Cascade falls in red white and blue with pictures of some of the heroes who lost their lives on that September day.   

“Climb these stairs in the honor of these first responders. Go up to the top of the falls, pick a first responder and carry them back down, bring them home.”

Ganzel says he hopes it also allows people to remember how united this county was on the days following September 11th.

“There wasn’t a street you couldn’t walk down where you wouldn’t see American flags just hanging everywhere, and people got together and that’s the goal that we are after is that we want to get back to that feeling of those days weeks and months following that.”

There is no cost to attend, and gates will open at 8 pm.   

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