9-11 Memorial to Include Those Sickened with Meso and Other Diseases
A new September 11th memorial, to be dedicated today in the town of Hempstead, Long Island, New York, will include the names of nearly 600 police officers, firefighters, EMTs, construction workers, volunteer clean-up crew members, and others who became sick and died due to exposure to toxins when the Twin Towers fell 16 years ago today.
A separate plaque at the memorial, which also – of course – includes the names of those who died as a direct result of the attacks, will honor those whose families or doctors believe died because they inhaled hazardous chemicals and other toxins during search and rescue, recovery, or clean-up efforts at the downtown Manhattan site where the World Trade Center once stood.
Sadly, the designers of the memorial left room to add more names as the list of those effected continues to grow, even a decade-and-a-half after that fateful day.
“I think what the town of Hempstead is doing is nothing short of honorable,” John Feal, a longtime advocate for 9/11 responders with health problems, told the New York Times. “People who lost a loved one to illness suffer just like someone lost on that day. Hopefully this will offer some ease and comfort to them.”
The monument, built along the ocean and including a steel beam from the World Trade Center and an elevated walkway for viewing, is one of a growing number of monuments popping up around the country that are including names of those who died from illnesses due to their participation in 9-11 rescue and recovery.
One of the first to die due to exposure to apparent Sept. 11-related toxins was a New York City EMT named Deborah Reeve, who succumbed to mesothelioma cancer in 2006.
The fire department paramedic was in the thick of things, so to speak, from day one, and visited the site about two dozen times in six months-time, noted the Times article.
By mid-2004, Reeve had been diagnosed with asbestos-caused cancer, which usually takes decades to develop.
Reeve’s quick development of the aggressive cancer is proof of the level of toxins that were present at Ground Zero in the days and months following the attacks.
It is likely that more cases of mesothelioma and other related illnesses will arise in the next several years…adding more names to the sad list of those whose tireless efforts to help their fellow man on the worst day in American history ultimately resulted in their untimely death.