A popular mobile memorial to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, will soon roll into Gaston County for the third straight year.

The 9/11 Never Forget Exhibit was created in 2013 as a tool for educating Americans — particularly children — about the terrorist attacks 14 years ago. It’s a product of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which seeks to honor the memory of those who died. The nonprofit does that while also raising money that benefits severely wounded military service members, injured firefighters, disaster recovery, orphanages, school programs and more.

The exhibit is housed on a high-tech, 53-foot tractor-trailer, which unfolds into a 1,000-square-foot exhibit, serving as a poignant reminder of the tragedy. It provides interactive education, with artifacts such as steel beams from the towers, documentary videos, recordings of first-responder radio transmissions and live tours by New York City firefighters.

Admission into the exhibit is always free to the public. But the Tunnel to Towers Foundation charges a $4,000 fee to each host community, with the money going to support its programs and initiatives. Eastridge Mall and Gastonia Nissan will sponsor the local visit.

Walk-ins to the exhibit are welcome and no appointments are necessary.

Stephen Siller was a New York City firefighter who had just ended his overnight shift on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. He was headed to play golf with his brothers when he heard the first radio report of a plane striking the World Trade Center.

He picked up his equipment and drove toward Manhattan to help, but arrived at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to find it closed. So he strapped 60 pounds of gear to his back, left his truck there with the keys, and ran several miles through gridlocked tunnel traffic to help at the towers. He died at the scene.

The 9/11 Never Forget Exhibit not only tells some of Siller’s story, but focuses on the terrorist attack and the overall heroism that emerged from it.

The event will kick off at 11 a.m. Friday, May 19 with a motorized processional beginning at Wal-Mart in Belmont and making its way to  Eastridge Mall. The tractor-trailer housing the exhibit will be accompanied to the mall by a group of local first responders.

You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or twitter.com/GazetteMike.