When you think of that morning, the deafening scrape of metal on metal, like a freight train slamming it’s brakes, and the thick clouds of ash that fell like snow, you see easily why people were filled with fear and reacted instinctually by running for safety. As these great buildings, wonders of the modern world, threw daggers of glass that showered like glitter over thousands of people, not everyone ran out. Some reflexively ran in.
Since, the rumble has been scooped away, replaced by a shiny new memorial. Lawyers and marketers have relocated their firms to other parts of the city. Most people have moved on, moved out and moved up in the bustling world of NYC. But not everyone is doing so well.
Those first responders who ran in, saving hundreds of people, are now being plagued with chronic illness, acquired from breathing in the toxic fumes and dust from Ground Zero. Over 30,000 first responders have injuries or illnesses from the attack, at least 150 have died and nearly 3,000 have been diagnosed with cancer related to this event. Lawmakers fought vigorously to push through a 9/11 healthcare bill, which provided compensation and medical treatment for sick rescue workers. This program, which went into effect in 2010, is set to end next year.
Mayor de Blasio, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) and Pete King (R-L.I.) hope to get the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act extended for another twenty-five years. That may seem like a long time, but every year, more 9/11 policemen and firefighters are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases, cancers and chronic illness linked to the attacks. Such serious issues don’t manifest themselves overnight, and certainly the diseases won’t be curbed by this Act’s expiration.
“These brave men and women did not think twice before risking their lives in service to our nation,” Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “Congress has a duty to continue to stand by them in the years ahead by providing the health care and compensation that our 9/11 heroes and their families need and deserve.”
As we gather to honor and remember those lost in the tragedy of 9/11, flags will fly at half-staff and the calm of the National Moment of Silence will fall across our nation. Don’t forget the long-term effects this attack has created in many of the brave survivors. Let’s all take a moment to recognize and educate ourselves about the efforts of the lawmakers to compensate and care for those affected.
For more about the efforts of these lawmakers, click here: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/ochia/your-rights/affordable-care-act.page. More info about the fight the healthcare act is available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/wtc/html/health_compensation/health_compensation_act.shtml.
(photo courtesy of http://www.vosizneias.com)