The mantra, one that has been sacrosanct for 14 years now, is simple: “Never forget.”
No, we shall never forget the victims, the nearly 3,000 who perished in terrorist attacks upon this country 14 years ago today. We shall never forget the survivors, those from all corners of the country who continue to bear the scars of Sept. 11, 2001. And we shall not forget the resolve, the sense of national unity and shared purpose that was forged, however fleeting it might have been.
So today, as the nation pauses to recall the horrific events of 9/11, we call upon members of Congress to demonstrate that they, too, will never forget a day that seems so long ago, yet remains so fresh in the memory.
The first issue involves the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The legislation, named for a New York City Police officer who died of a respiratory illness in 2006 that was attributed to his exposure to toxic chemicals at the World Trade Center site, contains two parts: The 9/11 World Trade Center Health Program, and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. It became law in early 2011 and had a five-year window.
Congress should renew the fund, and we frequently are presented with reminders of why. Three weeks ago, for example, Marcy Borders died at the age of 42 from stomach cancer. Borders was a bank clerk in the World Trade Center, and she became known as “The Dust Lady” when a picture of her, covered in fallout from the wreckage, received worldwide circulation.
There is no certainty that Zadroga or Borders died as a result of their exposure related to 9/11, but there is little doubt that those who were there have experienced high rates of cancer and other illnesses.