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Journeys of the Questress - WTC
The Year of the Heroes of 9/11
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The Rebuilding of Ground Zero continues
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Where Is Our Story Teller of Pain
At Memory's Edge
Dust Thou Art and to Dust Thou Shalt Return
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Heroes Never Die
The Flame Inside Our Hearts
The Year of the Heroes of 9/11

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The Year of the Heroes of 9/11


Finally this year, the first responders who died on 9/11 and in the ensuing years, along with those who died from the effects of living near Ground Zero, have their own memorial. They are honored in the “Memorial Glade” a part of New York’s 9/11 Memorial.

 

Also this year the survivors, not only the individuals who worked the pile but also the Lower Manhattan residents who inhaled the toxic smoke, had to fight for and finally won the renewing of the Victim’s Compensation fund.

 

The Memorial Glade - A Tribute to courage


This new portion of the monument is heavy with symbolism. It’s near where the ramp used in the rescue-and-recovery effort once stood at Ground Zero, and it consists of six massive granite monoliths inlaid with salvaged steel from the Twin Towers. They point skyward along a path and are intended to represent strength and determination through adversity. 

Hewn by craftsmen in Vermont, the granite monoliths’ jagged shapes call attention to the largely hidden health struggles of those whose lives were changed — or later ended — by the attacks.

"This is an area of the 9/11 Memorial that is being created to recognize and honor everyone who is now,18 years after the attack, are still living with the consequences of 9/11 -- day in and day out," to quote Alice Greenwald, president and CEO of the memorial and museum. 

Designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, the two behind the original memorial’s design. In his design statement, Arad described the stone elements as implying a “firmness, stability, and faithfulness through adversity, pointing skyward, referencing how the recovery cleared the way for rebuilding and renewal.” An inscription on a marker commemorates “those whose actions in our time of need led to their injury, sickness and death.” And how their “perseverance and courage renewed the spirit of a grieving city, gave hope to the nation and inspired the world.”

Victim Compensation Fund – Fight and victory

Many have since become belated victims of the attacks, facing conditions such as respiratory complaints, rare cancers and mental-health disorders. Thousands of responders have died of illnesses related to their work on and after 9/11, and tens of thousands more, including Lower Manhattan residents, are being treated for illnesses caused by the toxins they inhaled.

Meanwhile, those affected continue to fight for compensation for the costs of treatment. One of their champions, comedian Jon Stewart, helped lead fundraising efforts for the memorial.

The workers have been the subject of an enduring political fight for financial support. There has also been substantial, and at times bitter, disagreement over just how strong a role the poisonous cloud of dust and fumes breathed in by firefighters, police officers and aid workers has played in their health problems. As of April, more than 22,000 claims to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund had been deemed credible, most filed by rescue, recovery and cleanup workers, according to data published by the fund.

This year comedian Jon Stewart testified before Congress, pleading for the fund to be renewed. He was joined by Luis Alvarez, a former New York City police detective, who died just weeks after his testimony. Fortunately, in July Congress saw it in their hearts to pass the bill to renew it through 2092.