South Carolina Remembers: A History


1867:  New York Fireman’s Association donates a hose carriage to the City of Columbia to assist with fire fighting efforts.  Captain J.J. Mackey, then fire captain for Columbia, said in appreciation, “These noble efforts of yours to assist us remain forever green in our memory.” He promised if ever the occasion should arise Columbia would remember and repay our debt of gratitude to the people of New York.

2001: One hundred and thirty-four years later, in the days following 9/11, students and staff members of White Knoll Middle School, Lexington, SC wanted to do something for NYC. White Knoll Middle School Principal Nancy Turner came up with the idea to buy NYC a fire truck and entitle the project, “South Carolina Remembers”.

2002:  A dedication ceremony for the fire truck purchased through the “SC Remembers 2001” fundraising project was held in June, 2002 at the Red Hook fire station in Brooklyn.


2007: During the 2007 WKHS Veteran’s Bowl Game, the dedication of Marine Corporal Joshua L. Torrence Memorial Field House was a culmination of efforts made by average citizens, firefighters, students, and public servants to remember a slain hero and student; one who perhaps dropped a few coins in the bucket after 9/11 in order to help to raise the funds for a fire truck. Among the firefighters who participated in this ceremony were the very same men who shook hands and passed over the fire truck check to the Mayor to honor our eternal gratitude to NYC.

2008: In order to continue the legacy of brotherhood between our two cities, on March 29, 2008, band students from WKHS were guests of the Big Apple and FDNY Engine 202, Ladder 101 in Brooklyn, NY.   Spearheaded by the FDNY, community event organizer Dan Hennigan and the WKHS Band Booster Club, these high school ambassadors, many of whom had volunteered as middle school pupils to fundraiser for the 2001 donated fire truck, were treated to four days of activities, ceremonies, and events. The band was under the exceptional leadership of WKHS Band Director, Chris Bussell.


CBS Morning Show -video of performance.

2009: The “South Carolina Remembers Student 9-11 Essay Project”, founded by Dan Hennigan, U.S.  Army Ret., in 2009, consists of White Knoll Middle School, District 1, students writing a one page essay explaining what 9-11 means to them. The two student winners read their essays to the South Carolina Midlands public, and then boarded a commercial aircraft with our FDNY guest speakers to fly to NYC. These students participated in “The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance” ceremony that evening at KeySpan Park Home of the Brooklyn Cyclones in Coney Island, NY and had the opportunity to read their essays to the thousands attending.

2010:  After being recommended by NYC and FDNY leadership, Dan Hennigan applied on November 19, 2009 requesting to receive the WTC steel artifacts.   Accordingly, it was approved in writing by NYC/NJ Port Authority on August 12, 2010.  Because the memorial wanted part of the theme of the memorial to be “unification”, Dan worked with the NYC/Nj Port Authority and received two 14 ft. steel beams from the WTC.   This set the wheels in motion to start the planning and fundraising phase for the “First Responders Remembrance Memorial”.   On September 5th, 2010, Dan and three South Carolina firefighters depart for NYC.  On September 7th, they received the beams and headed back to South Carolina on September 8th.  Once back in town, members of the committee worked with community leaders to find and appropriate location for the memorial to be built on.  During October 1-3, 2010, the beams were on display at several locations in Beaufort, South Carolina for the Wounded Warriors Project.  This event was headlined by the Lt. Dan Band with Gary Sinise.  On November 11th, Dan received the World Trade Center Artifacts Memorial Program’s “Above and Beyond” Award for exceptional efforts to honor the memory of those how died on 9/11.  This was in part for, “making the steel that the Port Authority gave to Lexington County, South Carolina accessible to people along the transportation route from New York to the Carolinas; at events like the Gary Sinise, Lt. Dan Band Wounded Warrior weekend; and by conducting a thorough site-selection effort”.

2011:  On March 9th, 2011, the WTC steel beams were on display at the “Friends of Scouting Dinner”.  This event was headlined by the Honorable Andrew H. Card, Jr., Former White House Chief of Staff to President George Bush Jr. and U.S. Secretary of Transportation.  Also, it was announced at this event that the “First Responders Remembrance Memorial” will be built on the grounds of the Columbia, SC Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia, SC.    SC Remembers is partnering with the following sponsors to help get the memorial built:  Carter Goble Lee, Dennis Corporation, Eagle Creek Nurseries, Gimball Cotterill Landscape Architect, Enviro AgScience Inc., Evans Steel Service, Gregory Electric, L-J Inc., Memorial Design, Pine Press Printing, Sun Printing, Ted Koon Construction, and the Tyler Ryan Group,

2012: An Evening of Remembrance was held on 9/12/2012. The event recognized families who have lost loved ones on the front line. The public was invited to attend and show their appreciated for the first responders.

The memorial includes a pair of 25 foot granite towers and the 2 steel beams from the World Trade Center, crossed to show the country’s unity after the attacks on the United States on 9/11/01. The memorial includes the names of all of the victims of the attack on New York City, both citizens and first responders, who gave their lives in New York that day, along with the names of all the South Carolina Midlands first responders (police, fire, EMS, and military) who have given their lives since that morning in 2001.  

 Sequence of events that night:

6:00 Introduction – Mr. Tyler Ryan, WACH Fox, MC
6:02 Welcome – Brig. Gen. Bryan Roberts, Commanding General, Fort Jackson
6:06 Pledge of Allegiance – Miss Abigail Tam
6:08 National Anthem/Flyover – Dr. Richard Conant
6:10 Presentation of Colors – White Knoll High School NJ JROTC
6:12 Invocation – Dan Dennis, Dennis Corporation
6:13 Remarks – Daniel Hennigan, Memorial Founder/Chairman, U.S. Army (Ret.)
6:14 Sponsor Recognition – Mr. Tyler Ryan, WACH Fox, MC
6:15 9/11 Family Member – Mrs. Dawn Yamashiro
6:17 Partnership & Recognition – Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and Town of Lexington Mayor Randy Halfacre
6:21 Presentation of Gifts to Family Members – Boy Scouts
6:23 Introduction of Keynote Speaker – Mike Sonefield, Irmo Fire Chief/Memorial Vice Chairman
6:24 Keynote Address – Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, Jr., The S.C. Adjutant General
6:29 Roll Call for Fallen Heroes – Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Marty Wells, U.S. Army/Honor Guard
6:33 Memorial Wreath Presentations – Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, Jr. and Mrs. Dawn Yamashiro
6:34 Playing of TAPS – Palmetto Pipes & Drums
6:36 Closing Remarks – Mr. Tyler Ryan

2013: The first Tunnel to Towers Run & Walk was held on Friday, September 6, 2013 at 7:30 PM and included over 2,100 runners in the first year! 900 Military Service Members from Fort Jackson Command and Drill Sergeant Academy participated and were led by the Fort Jackson Commanding General & Command Sergeant Major.

2014: Our Second Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk, which was also held on Friday, September 19, 2014, was mirrored after the main run & walk held in New York City, which boasts over 35,000 participants each year. Our 2014 event included for the first time an After Celebration with food and entertainment, which included four-time Grammy Nominee and 2014 People’s Choice Award winner Hunter Hayes.

2015: Our third Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk was held on September 18, 2015. For entertainment this year, we chose to go “local” and focus on a band with a significant fan base in South Carolina. We selected the Root Doctors, National Recording Artists, as our entertainment and they delivered an energizing performance. New this year, we included a large number of local merchant booths, a “live” ice carving demonstration, as well as youth friendly activities brought together by a local chapter of Team RWB. These events included: face painting, photo booths, and games. Additionally, two drawings were added to the After Celebration, both brought together by the Columbia Area Sports Council. Our Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk, in only its third year, ranked in the top 20 runs in South Carolina.

2016: This year our fourth Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk was held on September 16, 2016. For entertainment this year, we chose to invite back the Root Doctors and they again delivered an exceptionally uplifting performance. Additionally, through our organization’s partnership with the Stephan Siller T2T Foundation of New York, Jax of American Idol fame provided a moving rendition of the National Anthem at the opening ceremony and also entertained the runners and their guests at the After Celebration. This year the After Celebration moved indoors at the Columbia Convention Center where we continued to provide food, refreshments and an energetic atmosphere to celebrate our military and first responder heroes. This year, we continued the “live” ice carving demonstration, as well as youth friendly activities, including: face painting, photo booths, a moon bounce and games. This year we expanded the raffles and received many donations from local South Carolina Companies and small merchants.