RALLY AGAINST CUTS TO 9/11 VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND:
FDNY Uniformed Fire Officers Association President Jake Lemonda, and FDNY Uniformed Firefighters Association Vice President LeRoy McGinnis, joined elected officials and activist Jon Stewart in a rally/press conference on February 25th at the Capitol Visitors’ Center in Washington DC for the permanent authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. Officials and victims discussed the major cuts of federal funds for September 11th first responders, many of whom have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses and disabilities linked to their work at Ground Zero. Hundreds of first responders and workers from 9/11 have been stricken with respiratory diseases, life-threatening cancers and other illnesses from exposure to toxic fumes and waste in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on Flight 93, which crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Congress Member Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Congress Member Peter King (R-NY) will be introducing legislation.
Many New York City firefighters, police officers and emergency workers have died since 9/11 as a result of illness following September 11th, 2001. There are over 2,077 confirmed cancer (cases) caused by toxins breathed in by first responders at Ground Zero, which has lead to the deaths of over 200 firefighters since 9/11. Outside of the department, there are 9,300 cancer conditions related to 9/11 among first responders and civilians according to a statement by the two FDNY unions.
“There are thousands of brave firefighters in the Fire Department of New York who have suffered tremendously because of their heroism on the fateful day of 9/11. Cancer and other chronic, lifethreatening illness are a reality, for not only the firefighters and emergency response personnel, but also their families and friends. Though money doesn’t replace the victims’ lives cut short or adversely impacted by 9/11, it does help ease the tremendous burden of financial distress caused by the loss of life or the chronic injuries sustained by first responders. It would be unconscionable for Congress to allow this to expire and immoral to leave families without the very little compensation their loved ones earned on one of the most tragic days in American history. September 11th wasn’t only an attack on New York, it was an attack on America – and New York’s first responders heroically answered. Still today, the actions of terrorists continue to attack New York’s first responders, and America and the United States Congress need to answer,” said Gerard Fitzgerald, president, Uniformed Firefighters Association.