New Canaan CT., December 6, 2010. Over the past several years Voices of September 11th staff has met with survivors, rescue and recovery workers to capture their inspirational stories for the 9/11 Living Memorial Project. They speak of their firsthand accounts of the attacks, witnessing people jumping to escape the burning buildings and watching helplessly as the building collapsed, wondering if their friends and colleagues were able to escape. In response to the attacks, rescue and recovery workers and volunteers rushed in from around the country to assist in the rescue efforts, hoping to save lives. Many spent months working in the rubble sifting for human remains in conditions that we now know compromised their health and well-being.
As a Mother of a 24 year old son who died on 9/11, I was hopeful that my son would be found at the site. As it became apparent that no one survived, my next hope was that my son’s remains would be found. Our families were reliant on the efforts of the rescue and recovery workers who worked tirelessly at the site searching for our loved ones. Thanks to their efforts we were notified of our son’s remains in November, 2001 and have been contacted by the Medical Examiners four subsequent times. Many families shared our same experience. Collectively we were indebted to their determination and resolve.
In the years since 9/11 it is apparent that these brave individuals that worked at the World Trade Center site have been severely impacted. Our staff at Voices of September 11th is providing services to the rescue workers and survivors so we recognize firsthand the gravity of the situation. Many have severe psychological problems, suffering from PTSD, anxiety and depression which is complicated by life-threatening medical problems including lung disease and cancer. The medications they are taking to address their illnesses have serious side-affects. They are no longer able to work or support their families. As their friends and colleagues die, many anticipate the inevitable. Their families are living with individuals suffering chronic illness. These brave individuals and their families need our help!
As the Senate comes together to vote on the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, I call on each of you to recognize the responsibility you have to represent the will of the American people. Put aside party politics at this critical juncture and do the right thing by supporting those who helped our families and our country through our darkest hours. The House of Representatives has passed this important bill. I urge you to join New York Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, Connecticut Senators Lieberman and Dodd, and New Jersey Senators Lautenberg and Menendez to support the rescue and recovery workers and their families by voting for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. They deserve your vote and our support in the challenging years ahead.