Remembering the September 11th, 2001 Terror Attacks – 18 Years Later

It’s 8:45 EST, a minute before my life changed 18 years ago.

I want to stop the clock, but I can’t. Just like my life, it will change and I will have to face the memories again.

18 years ago it was just another September 11th, now it is a day that is etched into my brain until I draw my last breath.

My wife reminded me last night that on September 10th we had been watching Monday Night Football. My (formerly beloved) Giant’s lost to the Denver Broncos. We’d stayed up late to watch, even though I had election duty the next day. What should have been a day spent bitching about my team, would soon turn into a nightmare that I am forever trapped in.

I often wonder if people look at us and think, ‘why can’t they just move on?’

The simple answer is that we live with the aftermath of September 11th every day.

That morning, we lost 23 members of the NYPD, but since then we have lost over 240 and the reality for us is that this number will only grow. Most cannot fathom what we were exposed to, as the videos do not do it justice. For those of us who were there, we know what was in the air and what we were exposed to. I have never understood why the government lied, when they said, ‘the air is safe.’ Walking into Ground Zero we all knew that it wasn’t and it didn’t stop us from doing our job.

The other reason is that we do not have any closure.

On the morning of December 7th, 1941, America was attacked at Pearl Harbor. There were over two thousand deaths and over one thousand wounded. It was the worst attack America had ever faced from an enemy. On August 15th, 1945, less than 5 years after the attack, Japan surrendered. While it didn’t bring back those we lost, there was some measure of closure. We’d been attacked and we brought our enemy to their knees.

18 years later and we are still fighting this war and there is no end in sight.

Last night, minutes into the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, our embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan was attacked; a stark reminder that our enemy has not surrendered and is alive and well.

On the morning of September 11th, we lost almost three thousand people, in the 18 years that have passed, we have lost nearly the same amount to the toxins they ingested either fleeing from or responding to the attack. Yet, when I have had occasion to speak on this topic, most have no idea.

They have no idea because there is little coverage of those numbers. It is America’s dirty little secret. They don’t know the staggering amount of people that continue to die, almost every day, nor the fact that, for many families of the original victims, there is no closure because, 18 years later, their loved ones have still not been identified.

Many, like me, feel as if we have been relegated to history and the recent fight to renew the VCF is a poignant reminder.

  • Rather than do what they promised to do, which was Never Forget, the 9/11 victims had to plead, threaten, and embarrass many in Congress to renew the funding; the very same politicians who get in front of any camera they can, on the anniversary of the attack, to pontificate to the rest of us about, ‘not forgetting.’

  • Rather than point a finger at our enemy, and call them out for the cowards they are, we look away, afraid to offend anyone. Even today, the NY Times posted an article about how, ‘planes took aim and brought down the World Trade Center.’ Unless we have sentient airliners, I’m pretty sure there were Islamic terrorists who aimed them at their targets.

  • Rather than stand tall and call it what it was, a terror attack, many in politics and the media have chosen to white wash it. Or, as one Congressperson insensitively put it, “Some people did something.”

18 years ago today, I stood next to my old partner, NYPD Lieutenant Paul Murphy, as we helped rescue and evacuate people from Ground Zero. On January 4th, 2018, Paul died from the 9/11 illnesses he had battled. Paul was a great cop, a loving husband & father, and a dear friend. I remember when I called him to tell him I had been diagnosed with 9/11 cancer. Even though he was fighting his own battle, he immediately counseled me on what I needed to do to get taken care of. I lost him only days later.

Paul, and all of my brothers and sisters who have fought and lost their battles, are my heroes. They exemplify the NYPD Motto: Fidelis Ad Mortem.

Today I remember them and all they sacrificed that fateful day. I just wish we could set our clocks back to September 12th and live our lives with that same level of commitment, respect, and appreciation.

Never Forget - “All Gave Some, Some Gave All.”

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Interview: INFOWIND News - 9/11 VCF & Congressional Malfeasance

Had the chance to sit down with Joe Charter over at INFOWIND News to discuss the problems the heroes and victims of the September 11th terror attacks are facing.

Sadly, Congress has failed to provide adequate funding for the Victims Compensation Fund, so the compensation so many were depending on has been slashed by 50% for old claims and 70% for new claims. Many are unable to work, due to severe illness from the toxins ingested at Ground Zero, and are in jeopardy of losing their homes.

The Government lied to us when they said the air was safe, and then they lied again when they said they would #NeverForget.

It’s time to #Renew911VCF

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Has Your Elected Official Forgotten the Victims of 9/11?

I wish I could devote all of my time writing my latest novel or providing you with entertaining blog posts relating to my books and characters, but sadly I find myself having to turn to you and beg for your support in a much larger issue: The Heroes and Victims of the September 11th Terror Attacks.

Every September 11th, our elected representatives love to get out in front of the cameras and proclaim that we American’s should never forget the victims of the horrific terrorist attack and that we should always remember the heroes of that day. Yet that is exactly what they do beginning September 12th. Apparently, the only ones needing a reminder are those in government.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is on the brink of collapse strictly because Congress failed to adequately fund it.  Simply put, without proper funding, the program will close in 2020. This will leave many within the 9/11 community without treatment for the toxins they were exposed to, even though the government lied and said the air was safe. In addition, many rely on the promised compensation because they are dying from attributed illnesses and know their families will need this money after they are gone. Imagine for a moment a first responder on the brink of losing their homes, simply because they rushed to the aid of their fellow American’s.

Yet our vaunted politicians in Congress provided less than $5 billion dollars for a program that was not set to expire till 2090, yet they provide $45 - $50 billion ANNUALLY in foreign aid.

Since the attacks of September 11th, the United States has sent nearly $100 billion dollars in aid to Afghanistan, the country from which the attacks were planned and launched.  It is unconscionably that our representatives treat foreign countries better than their own American citizens.

Tell Congress to treat our 9/11 victims and heroes with at least the same dignity and respect that is given to foreign countries.

The link below provides a way for you to see whether or not your elected representatives have supported the funding of the Zadroga Bill. All you have to do is put in your address and it will tell you immediately.

CLICK HERE TO SEE IF YOUR REPRESENTATIVE SUPPORT THE ZADROGA BILL?

Let them know that even though they may have forgotten, you haven’t!! Never Forget should be more than a catchy hashtag.

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NY Post Article - Slashing of 9/11 Victim Benefits

I am so thankful that Melissa Klein of the NY Post cared enough to do an article regarding Congress’ failure to adequately fund the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

I have documented the problems that the 9/11 community is having to deal with recently on my blog, but it is nothing compared to the views generated by a major New York City newspaper publication. I grew up reading the post, but never thought I would one day be featured in an article. I hope that if there is a next time that it will be to highlight one of my new books, because that would mean we had resolved the gross deficiencies of the Victim’s Compensation Fund.

For more information about the battle that heroes and victims are having to wage with Congress, please read Melissa’s article below:

NY POST ARTICLE: 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS BENEFITS TO BE SLASHED - by Melissa Klein

And for more information, read up on my blog posts:

NEVER FORGET THE HEROES

SEPTEMBER 11TH - YES THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN

STABBED IN THE BACK (AGAIN) - 9/11’S FORGOTTEN HEROES

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Stabbed in the Back (Again) – 9/11’s Forgotten Heroes

It pains me greatly to have to write this, but the reality is that the overwhelming majority of politicians in Washington, D.C. truly wish we would all die. That may sound harsh, but there can be no other answer to explain their callousness when it comes to this issue.

Every September 11th, they seize on the opportunity to wrap themselves up in faux patriotism, jump in front of the cameras, and boldly proclaim that they will #NeverForget, but the reality is that come September 12th, they have already FORGOTTEN.

Let me explain to you what is at stake here. Right now, there are thousands of first responders and victims of the attack who are dealing with terminal illnesses, as a result of their exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero. For some it is not a simple cancer diagnosis, but multiple cancer diagnosis. Many are incapacitated to the point that they cannot work, meaning they are left with skyrocketing medical bills along with their own personal bills. The stories are heartbreaking.

Imagine being one of these heroes, who spent countless hours of self-sacrifice at Ground Zero, risking their lives for others, but now you have to struggle to come up with enough money to keep a roof over your head? Yes, this is happening in America today. What’s worse is that the very system setup to help, has been slow-walking the processing of claims for years. My own VCF claim for cancer has languished in some federal employee’s in-box for well over a year and has not even been looked at. My lawyers tell me that it will be an additional six months to a year before it is even reviewed. I can guarantee you that every payday those dedicated employees are getting THEIR checks on time. I’m not sure what these employees are being paid for this work, but I can tell you that the Special Master in charge of running this program earns close to a cool quarter of a million dollars a year for running this debacle.

When the original Victim’s Compensation Fund was created, shortly after the attacks, it was NOT out of the kindness of their collective political hearts. They did it simply because they were playing a game of CYA. Why you ask? Well, for starters, the government lied to us by claiming that the air was SAFE, even though they knew it wasn’t. Then, they decided that in exchange for their quick settlement we could not sue the airlines or the government. But that original VCF plan only ran for a short time and was shut down.

It took a number of years, and a growing community of sick first responders and victims, before the politicians acquiesced. In 2010, they passed a new iteration of the VCF called the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, and then in 2015 they reauthorized, providing coverage for victims through 2090. The only problem was that they never adequately funded it. In fact, it was ridiculously underfunded. To be clear, the government was intimately aware of the escalating cases of deaths and diseases from exposure to toxins at Ground Zero and opted to slap a Band-Aid on the wound.

On February 15th, 2019, a notice went out from the Special Master. It effectively notified those who had claims waiting to be processed by the VCF that the fund was running out of money and that any awards would now be slashed by 50%. It further stated that any new claims that were filed would see a 70% reduction.

 

Mind you, this is the same government that sends billions of dollars annually to FOREIGN governments, but turns a blind eye to the heroes and victims of the worst terror attack in U.S. History. What has become of this great nation when we send more money annually to the nation that the 9/11 attack was launched from then we provide for the victims during the life of the program?

The government would like you to believe that the effects of the attack ended shortly after September 11th. Here is a newsflash: On September 11th, 2001, I lost 23 NYPD brothers and a sister. Since then, we have lost nearly 6x that number and those are only the ones that the NYPD has gotten around to approving. The actual number is probably closer to 200, if not more, and it will only rise. I wish I could tell you the number of FDNY, but it is safe to safe that it is even higher for them.  The reason that the numbers are even this low is because these agencies, in concert with the city, are trying to fight the awarding of any additional line of duty designations. In the end, it is all about money. The government certifies your illness as being directly attributed to the attack, but the city ignores it.

You would think getting approval for the funding of the Zadroga Act would be a political ground ball, but you would be wrong. To date, there are only 21 sponsors in the Senate and only 93 in the House; which means that of the 535 total members of Congress, 421 have FORGOTTEN. What is equally galling to me is the fact that from the Republican side, MY party, there are a combined total of twenty-five. Yep, those same folks who wrap themselves up in the flag every year and proclaim #NeverForget are a bunch of lying SOB’s. Hell, I can’t even get my own Congressman, Rodney Davis, to respond to my communications to him, let alone to co-sponsor the bill. All he can come up with is catchy tweets once a year.

This will not change unless Americans do something about it. If you are one of those people that reminisce every year about where you were on the morning of September 11th, then you need to do something for those people who were THERE on September 11th.

The heroes and victims of 9/11 are sick, dying and running out of time. They need YOUR help and they need it now. Contact your Senators and Representatives and DEMAND that they treat them just as well as we treat our ‘friends’. No more Foreign Aid until America’s heroes are taken care of first.

Media Outlets: If you are interested in discussing this matter, please CONTACT ME directly.

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