Tag Archive: September 11

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.  

What did Chris Christie see from his helicopter September 11th? Anything?

From Brent Johnson’s reporting today at Star-Ledger, Christie bridge scandal: Panel looking into whether governor flew in helicopter over Fort Lee:

Colin Reed, a spokesman for Christie’s office, confirmed today that the Republican governor did fly in a helicopter from New York City to Trenton on Sept. 11 of last year – the third day of the closures. But asked whether the aircraft passed over the bridge, Reed declined comment.

Despite full-throated non-denial denials from Gov. Christie, there are lingering questions of What did he know and when did he know it? Wildstein says he knew during, to which Christie responded by moving the goalpost and insisting he didn’t know before. Uh huh.

If all this is from a Wildstein tip, and the reason he says “evidence exists” that Christie knew during, is it enough to suggest that he connected what he saw below him with orders from his own Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly to Wildstein, of “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”?  We know Christie and Wildstein were together for at least part of September 11, 2013, during the lane closures, because WSJ dug up a picture of them together taken that day after Christie said he hadn’t encountered Wildstein “in a long time”. We know (also via WSJ) that Wildstein stood on the NJ side of the GWB on the first day Sept. 9th, watching the traffic chaos his order to Port Authority employees helped create. Was that the kind of thing an operative does to make sure his job is done as ordered? Did he show it off to Christie? We now know, via Christie’s office, that he choppered from NYC to Trenton on 9/11. Was Wildstein or somebody else up there with him? PA Deputy COS Bill Baroni? PA Chair David Samson? Both were with Christie and Wildstein in NYC.

Colin Reed, Christie’s new mouthpiece now that Michael Drewniak seems to be  in some undisclosed location doesn’t say Christie didn’t fly over the bridge. Or that he doesn’t know. He declines comment. Will that continue to be their answer?  

102 Minutes on September 11, 2001

I was up late last night remembering, and this morning I just want to flag for you the single most extraordinary thing I read following September 11, 2001:

102 Minutes: Last Words at the Trade Center; Fighting to Live as the Towers Die (New York Times, May 26, 2002)

It’s an awful title, maudlin. But it’s forgiveable; when it was published eight months after, New York was still raw. So was New Jersey. But I’m flagging it for you, because 12 years later it still impresses me. 102 Minutes is a painstaking reconstruction by Times reporters of all that we can know of what happened inside the World Trade Center towers – what it was like in there, what happened to the walls, the stairways, the windows, and the people –  pieced together from phone conversations and e-mail and voice messages, and the accounts of survivors. A 102-minute timeline of hell.  

September 10th


September 10th. The last good night, the last before of 2,996 afters. The 12th anniversary of the last night of not knowing something we wish we didn’t know now, of what we’ve seen – planes into buildings, memorandums floating on the air, mangled fire trucks – that we can’t unsee now.

September 11th was the rallying cry of the worst president in history, arguably, though most of America was only too happy to tie yellow ribbons on everything, fly the stars and stripes (cheerfully made in China) on every auto. I hit the street in protest as that war started; most everybody here did. But America was still chanting about towelheads and willing themselves, in misguided Freedom isn’t Free! patriotism, to believe it was Iraq on 9/11 so George Bush could have his Daddy’s war. Propaganda so effective that fully seven years later the Republican Party actually made a serious try to lob an underbright Alaska governor to the heartbeat-away slot in the White House, who actually thought 9/11 was Saddam. And wasn’t kidding.

1239666_474682075972374_565442930_nThe takeaway for the American people, after years of being fooled, was finally to see the world as progressives saw it plain and almost immediately; that ‘enemies’ aren’t interchangeable, that it’s better to understand the attack in some context, however painful, that our hands are not clean says much of the world, and that we owe our precious soldiers the respect of deploying them only when absolutely necessary.

Clearly, the president had some trouble with that takeaway. And that’s troubling, given why we elected him, and how he took pains to distance himself from his foolhardy predecessor.

But I think what we saw in tonight’s inelegant speech is a president forced by the rest of us – war-weary voters, stoplossed military families, and congress members across all spectra – to do the harder work of finding diplomatic solutions, and engaging the community of nations (where there’s some doubt who perpetrated this). This is not what President Obama wanted, but in the spirit of something other than trumpeting American exceptionalism, it is a saner approach – particularly from the nation with which napalm, Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are associated. I know I’ll take a hit from some people on that.

Without the wisdom, the questions, even the anger of the American people, without the brakes Congress applied, and without the takeaways of more than 10 years of war by fools, President Obama might have made a different speech tonight. We have many people to thank for the possibility of a non-military solution now. Obama gets credit for listening.

Every year this night I begin reliving September 11th. I’m not alone. Part of this is the guilt of the dislocated; I was in Detroit, where National Guardsmen sat in Jeeps on Woodward Avenue, rifles on their shoulders. But I wasn’t here where middle school kids learned their fathers were missing when hysterical mothers came to collect them, where ordinary people tried to drive carloads of boots to the city, because they heard on the radio the steelworkers needed them. Most of all I relive it to keep faith with my Ohio fire chief grandfather, who I see in the faces of all lost firefighters. And to acknowledge the unknowable stories of the jumpers, whose quarter-mile fall from the sky are the mysteries of my nightmares.

I support public release of more of the video and info members of Congress have seen; we owe to the dead of Syria to witness it.  But if I thought lives would be saved in Syria if we bombed, I’d back the President right now. I don’t see how we can even consider it until all non-military solutions are exhausted.

And it’s a bad day to remind me of battles begun in the name of a war on terror.  

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.