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New 9/11 Memorial Recognizes Long Term Health Toll on Survivors

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A collection of granite slabs installed at Ground Zero this past spring commemorate the continuing toll taken by the 9/11 attacks – the lives lost by firefighters, police and others who have either died or fallen ill due to exposure to toxins unleashed in the wreckage. Photo Credit: https://www.911memorial.org

By: Howard M. Riell

A collection of granite slabs installed at Ground Zero this past spring commemorate the continuing toll taken by the 9/11 attacks – the lives lost by firefighters, police and others who have either died or fallen ill due to exposure to toxins unleashed in the wreckage.

“The unusual addition reflects a memorial that is evolving as the aftermath of 9/11 does. And for families like Joanna Reisman’s, the new 9/11 Memorial Glade gives their loved ones a place in the landscape of remembrance at ground zero,” reported Crain’s New York Business. “Subtle and sculptural, the memorial glade features six stone pieces inlaid with steel salvaged trade center steel. They jut from the ground along a tree-lined pathway. Unlike the plaza’s massive waterfall pools memorializing people killed on 9/11—those whose names are read at anniversary ceremonies—the boulders are not inscribed with the names of those they honor. There is no finite list of them, at least not yet.”

“In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, tens of thousands of men and women from every state in the nation and around the world came to this site to do what they could to help,” says the web site 911memorial.org. “Facing a mountainous landscape of mangled and jagged steel at Ground Zero, and despite fires that burned for 100 days, they worked night and day over the course of nine months. They came to rescue, all too soon turning to the grim work of recovering those who had been killed and removing nearly two million tons of debris. Through sheer determination, they paved the way for rebuilding. Their sacrifice would be met with suffering.

“On the day of the attacks and throughout the recovery, hundreds of thousands—responders and survivors, workers and residents—were exposed to hazards and toxins in the air at and around the World Trade Center site, resulting in chronic illnesses and the deaths of thousands,” the web site continues. “Responders and workers at all three attack sites, including the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, have been affected. For the injured, sick, and dying, and for their families and friends, 9/11 has remained an all-too-present reality. The 9/11 Memorial Glade is dedicated in their honor.”

The Glade’s inscription encapsulates its purpose:

This Memorial Glade is dedicated

To those whose actions in our time of need

Led to their injury, sickness, and death

Responders and recovery workers

Survivors and community members

Suffering long after September 11, 2001

From exposure to hazards and toxins

That hung heavy in the air

Here and beyond this site known as Ground Zero

And at the Pentagon

And near Shanksville, Pennsylvania

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

Here we honor the tens of thousands

From across America and around the world

Who came to help and to heal

Whose selflessness and resolve

Perseverance and courage

Renewed the spirit of a grieving city

Gave hope to the nation

And inspired the world.

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