Tag Archive: World Trade Center

Reauthorize the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act

9/11 Ground Zero rescue workers

Today, more than 100 first responders are walking the halls of Congress to lobby lawmakers to reauthorize and make permanent the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named for NYPD detective,the first death by respiratory disease attributed to work at Ground Zero. He spent 450 hours there.

Following 9/11, America fairly throbbed with patriotism, nationalism and enough bloodthirsty revenge that allowed George Bush to launch a war on the wrong guy. We’ve recovered our senses since then, but the names of the people lost at the World Trade Center and Pentagon are still recited out loud, as they should be.

But there are other names and we have a chance to do more than remember them; the survivors and those who rushed in, then stayed to do what had to be done.  

A Port in a Storm

The NY NJ Port Authority Board met yesterday. It continues to disappoint us.

  • The Board approved its $7.8 billion 2015 budget after providing only eight days for the public to submit written comments and only one venue for speakers to address their concerns.

  • Former PA Board Chair David Samson, who resigned his post earlier this year amid questions about conflicts of interest, is now trying to head off a state ethics probe of his work at the bi-state agency. He is also under federal investigation.  

  • None of the Board members announced their resignation in spite of the fact that the Record points out, “many of them [are] affiliated with powerful law firms, Wall Street banks and labor unions.” Instead the members continued their seemingly endless debate on the need for new rules that would restrict them from participating in agency decisions that could indirectly benefit them or their associates.

  • At the board meeting Sen. Loretta Weinberg said too much was going to the World Trade Center instead of the bus depot. Although the PA is considering the renovation or replacement of the terminal, its Capital Plan (Page F 17) forecasts 2014 to 2023 expenses of $173 million or an average of $17 million a year for only repairs and enhancements. For the same 10-year period it forecasts for the WTC (page F 18) a total of $4.9 billion.  

  • The Rising: World Trade Center’s glittery spire

    The sky was falling and streaked with blood

    I heard you calling me then you disappeared into the dust

    Up the stairs, into the fire …

                                         – Bruce Springsteen, Into the Fire

    That warm clear morning of September 11, 2001, it was public workers who rushed into the the twin towers to save lives. Union people, most of them, running up the stairs. The roll call of our lost first responders was awful: 343 NYC Fire Department firefighters, 23 NYPD officers, 37 Port Authority PD officers. More than 2,000 first responders injured.

    Today, a 408-ft glittery spire was lifted high and bolted to One World Trade Center. Now 1,776 feet tall, the WTC was built with union labor. Union members rushed in on 9/11, and the rescue operation. Today’s a bittersweet full-cycle moment for the labor movement, and an achievement for the Port Authority of NY/NJ and all kinds of people whose lives are bound up in those building in some way. What must it have been like today for all the families, many in NJ, who lost people that day, or in two questionable wars after those towers?

    What I remember from 2001 is the sense of unity and gratitude for the people who work in service for the public. Marie Corfield, a teacher running for Assembly in LD-16 – I contribute my time to this race – talks about this. About her first day as a teacher; it was 9/11, a day of chaos. And the investment we all felt we should make, in the lives of those who serve the public. That’s what I’m remembering today as that tower rises. Back before Chris Christie and his war on public employees. His union thug talk. His cheerleading of Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin union busting. Before the Christiecrats who ruptured their party from the inside to service him, to cover him, and to grow his power.

    Left the house this morning

    Bells ringing filled the air

    Wearin’ the cross of my calling

    On wheels of fire I come rollin’ down here

    Come on up for the rising …

                                  – Bruce Springsteen, The Rising

    Minute-by-Minute on September 11, 2001

    World Trade Center

    8 months after, the New York Times finally made me understand the chaos inside the towers – an extraordinary piece of research and writing. I’ll give you the link below.

    Everyone has a story of 9/11. This photo was from a forgotten roll of film Rob & Brenda Usdin took, found and finally developed with a due date of Sept. 11, 2001. They had no idea what was on it, when they picked it up on September 12th. This is what was on it. It fits my mood.

    My cousin Barb posted a photo of herself dancing on the observation deck in 1983, 18 years before. Flight attendants were remembered this morning, by union leaders remembering union sisters and brothers. All across New Jersey, names are recited.

    MSNBC is replaying the Today show’s coverage as new layers of horror unfolded live and in real time. It’s what I was watching 11 years ago, as I was visiting my mother in Michigan. “Turn on the TV,” said my mother’s friend Iris that morning. What channel? “Oh, honey – it’s on every channel.”

    But all the cameras are at a distance. Sometimes they try to zoom in closer, but the moving specks the camera picks up might be people jumping. The camera pulls back.

    It’s irrational, but I always felt out-of-place not being here, when people I know and care about felt under attack. Not under attack as watched on TV, but under attack where they live, work, go to school. There are people in mourning today; for them this day isn’t about the horror unfolding on small flickering screens, but to husbands and sons, wives, daughters and sisters.

    Eight months after 9/11, the New York Times published an extraordinary piece of journalism. Using phone and BlackBerry conversations, emails and voicemail, reporters reconstructed the final 102 minutes of what happened inside those towers, when people called their loved ones, what they said, what they realized, what they said was happening.

    Fighting to Live as the Towers Died. Read it, read it, read it.  

    Rest in Peace, Simon Dedvukaj, all first responders, all our friends lost on that day.

    9/11 Memo to Gov. Christie: Not Everything is About You

    Like everyone, I’m still dumbstruck by the events of September 11, 2001. I was in Detroit, not here. Detroit, sharing a river, bridge & tunnel with Canada, is the nation’s most vulnerable area to illegal entry. City was in lockdown. Travel between the two countries at dead-stop. On Woodward Avenue, National Guardsmen on jeeps with rifles on their shoulders.

    But I’ve always believed that September 11 didn’t happen to America, it happened to New York – and also to New Jersey & Connecticut. Because the people who died in the World Trade Center were our people. I can’t imagine what it was to be here. In the middle school, kids throwing up whose parents worked in NYC. The flyers. The smoke and steam visible from our cities on the Hudson.

    With the 10th anniversary coming, felt as deeply near the Pentagon, Christie’s usual bombast seems particularly unwelcome now. In the last few days, Christie has called Mayor Bloomberg, whose city deserves respect right now, a Napolean a dictator and a putz. I realize part of what he’s is after is to get recognition for Donald DiFrancesco, who was ever so briefly sitting as governor when 9/11 happened. That he wants a role for David Samson, Port Authority Chair, and not inconsequentially his appointee. That some of it is wanting to make sure NJ has a role in the commemoration, as we certainly had a role in the loss.

    But, even giving the Governor that benefit of doubt, most of his embarrassing kicking and screaming is simply typical Christie conduct.

    But as we come up to the worst national day in most of our lives, it’s time for the Governor to tuck away his tantrums, and show respect – with his own behavior – for that loss. It’s not the time for ungentlemanly name-calling or jockeying for position. Gov. Christie is the biggest of big wheels – okay, Governor, we all get it, bully for you. But arguing about the program? People died – try to keep your eye on the ball. Grow up a little before September 11, 2011. Try to remember that not everything is about you.

    Postscript: At a presser this morning at Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth, the Governor denied calling Bloomberg any of those things. I don’t believe him for a minute.

    President Barack Obama Remarks on the Killing of Osama bin Laden

    Remarks by the President on Osama Bin Laden

    East Room, White House

    11:35 P.M. EDT

       THE PRESIDENT: Good evening.  Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

    It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history.  The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

    And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world.  The empty seat at the dinner table.  Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father.  Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace.  Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

    This very good speech continues after the jump.