BRAD MERRIMAN – JOURNALIST – TACD NEWS – “Our hearts still ache.”, the words President Obama spoke at the memorial site in front of the Pentagon in Arlington Virginia. This was only one of the several memorials services held today to commemorate one of the darkest days in US history.
In Lower Manhattan, the memorial began with the playing of the Star Spangled Banner as family, friends, and strangers gathered around the 9/11 memorial that now occupies the site where the Twin Towers once stood. There was a moment of silence a 8:46am, the time the first plane hit the North Tower.
Workers in Shanksville Pennsylvania, the site of the crash of Flight 93, which was likely inbound to the White House, broke ground on the “Flight 93 Memorial”, a 6800 square foot tribute to the brave men and women who took control of the plane that resulted in it crashing into a field, killing all on board.
For months after the 9/11 terror attacks on our country, the area around Lower Manhattan noticed a sharp slide in tourism, a decline in revenue not normal in this high traffic area. In 2002 there was only a reported 4 million visitors to Lower Manhattan’s events and attractions. With the new 1 World Trade Center, and the 9/11 Memorial site, tourism has surged to 11 million in 2012, bringing 55 Billion dollars into the area. With this, the once declining rental rates are once again surging, up $232 dollars per square foot in 2013.
Many schools around the nation have struggled with how to deal with the 9/11 tragedy. How do you talk to the students about it? These days many high school age kids talk about the images they remember of people leaping to their death on television. Some remember sitting in class crying when the teacher announced New York had been attacked, and that our nation maybe in danger. Like in most cases of early childhood tragedy, many of these kids simply felt a hug from mom would make it all better.
Kristin Bartlett is a Lower Manhattan pre-school teacher, she faces questions from 4 and 5 years olds about 9/11, most questions revolve around the fear that it may happen again. Bartlett told the Today Show, “I always use age-appropriate language and reassure the student of his or her own safety,” explains Bartlett. “I tell them our government works all day, every day, to make sure nothing like 9/11 will ever happen again.”
THE SICK AND INJURED
It has taken Reggie Hilaire, a rookie cop during 9/11, almost 12 years to finally receive the letter he had been waiting for. Hilaire, worked for 60 days around the dust from the 9/11 attacks, after which he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, as well as multiple myeloma, a cancer in the blood that normally strikes the more elder, he was 34 years old. A few months ago Reggie received a letter confirming that he was now insured under the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s World Trade Center Health Program. Currently 1140 people receive this benefit after being diagnosed with 9/11 related cancer.
It is unfortunate that Jevon Thomas did not receive such a letter in time. Thomas worked for a year on what is known as ‘the pile’, in Lower Manhattan. This pile off gassed an unknown quantity of toxic fumes including jet fuel, asbestos, and many other carcinogens. Thomas worked for a company that set up portable toilets, as was his assignment at ground zero. Thomas told a CNN reporter that he worked at ground zero for approximately 14 months without a mask, 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. A month or so after completing his work at ground zero,Thomas noticed a lump on his hand, it was diagnosed as a rare epithelioid sarcoma. Thomas underwent surgery and radiation treatments, but after having to resign from his job, this left his family broke. Unfortunately the 9/11 relief fund was reserved only for those with respiratory issues as a result of 9/11, not for those who suffer from cancer. Thomas became very distraught and depressed after not being able to send her daughter to a community college. Penniless, with a disabled wife unable to work, and a son unable to find a job, Jevon Thomas died in April 2012.
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