Today is a day that many of us can recall what and where we were on that fateful Tuesday morning on September 11, 2001. Others among us have friends or family that didn’t survive the events of that day, while others are living with the consequences of illnesses they came down with after being first responders on that day. In the years since September 11th, 2001, many of those same first responders have since succumbed to those illnesses. We all are grateful for what they did that day and we know that most would never even consider running into those building, but their selfless acts of heroism came with long-term and deadly consequences.
In the months and years that followed that morning, not only did many of those first responders have to fight illnesses that could not be initially comprehended in the medical community they also had to fight the United States government just get the medical care to save their lives. The government refused to attribute their illnesses to the myriad of airborne particles at Ground Zero thus refusing to compensate them accordingly. I personally have friends that have either past away of those illnesses of or currently still fighting for their survival.
After years of fighting the U.S. government and on nearly the 10th anniversary of September 11, the fund that had originally been created to compensate those that were either injured or killed as a result of the terrorist attacks, was reopened in order to include the first responders that had either past away or have gotten sick from their working at Ground Zero.
So many of us have no real idea of what it must have been like to work down there knowing that there was a possibility they would not survive, but I’m sure all but a few among us could not even imagine what it must have been like to have to fight your own government, for years, to save your own life.
As we remember those that have been lost this day and in the years since September 11, 2001 never forget the fights that the first responders had to endure and are still fighting to this day. We can never forget what happened that day 16 years ago, but we cannot let our government forget it either. We must continue fighting the good fight.