Wednesday as we remember the Veterans of our Armed Services there is a new conflict for those who you may not think of Veterans but their service on 9/11 would say otherwise. First responders of 9/11, the NYPD and FDNY men and women are now fighting for the right to have medical insurance to cover the cancers and other ailments that have developed after the worst terrorist act on American soil ever. Congress has let lapse a bill called the Zadroga Act, or 9/11 Health and Compensation Funds. The act was created to help first responders who suffer illnesses from working the days, weeks and months after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. More than 72,000 receive medical monitoring for cancers and other illnesses, and tragically more than 1,700 have perished.
We have more victims of that terrible day now. The first responders are sick, really sick. Lung cancer and other breathing complications have been linked to the recovery mission for these workers. They took a breather in the remains of millions of tons of cement, steel, dry wall, window glass and other construction materials. There were also thousands of computers that were crushed as well as mile after mile of items such as electrical cable and heating and cooling ducts. Finally, the dust contained the remains of the 2,753 people killed in the attack, along with the hair and skin cells shed by those who worked in the World Trade Center over the decades. There has never been an act like this so for those studying the health problems of the first responders there is nothing to compare it to
The images of the first responders who survived our nation’s tragedy of 9/11 is etched in our memories. The sight of people covered in a thick ghastly, dark gray dust and their inability to catch their breath are memories we should never forget. Unfortunately, members of our Congress and Senate have seemed to have been able to forget. The first responders stayed to clear debris for months, seeking for any hints to how the towers fell, for any mementos of those lost in the loss of the World Trade Center and of course for the recovery of those lost.
How could this lapse happen? Infighting between the parties is one answer but there are those fighting to have the funding reestablished but there are others who will not even to take the pledge to honor these brave people. In the Presidential race, the Democratic nominees have all taken the pledge to fund the act but surprisingly most of the Republican candidates have not. Chris Christie Governor of New Jersey who has many residents who have suffered from the post -illnesses of 9/11 and a surprising Donald Trump, whose financial empire was created in New York, have not taken the pledge.
If you are wondering how to help, telephone your local Congressman or woman, call your Senator then call the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan at his Washington D.C office at Phone: (202) 225-3031 Fax: (202) 225-3393. Faxing would be a great solution so that Speaker Ryan sees how important this legislature is to our nation. If you are supporting a Republican candidate for President, call their local offices and ask for the candidate to take a position on the bill.