9/11 was the largest terrorist attack to ever take place on American soil. The two planes struck the twin towers of the World Trade center early that September morning and then they collapsed into a pile of rubble and debris, affecting thousands of innocent people.
People ran for their lives as surrounding city blocks were enveloped in a noxious white dust. A lot of the policemen and firemen who responded to the emergency that day were killed during the collapse. No one knew that the two building were going to collapse. The site of the disaster became to be known as ground zero.
Today is the anniversary of that fateful day. All across the country, emergency workers are paying tribute to the men and women who lost their lives that day. But there are many other victims of that day who also need to be recognized. Thousands of people were affected by the pollution that the disaster caused.
That white dust contained asbestos and a lot of other noxious contaminants. Rescue workers and people who were near ground zero suffered the most serious health problems. According one study released in September 2006 by doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center and published in Environmental Health Perspectives, the journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 70 percent of the 9,500 workers tested at Mount Sinai between 2002 and 2004 said they had respiratory problems that either began or grew significantly worse during or after the time they spent working at ground zero. The study did not address cases of cancer reported by rescue and recovery workers since 9/11.
And several years later, most of these people are still suffering from health problems brought on by the attack.
A friend of mine died recently of sarcoidosis , a scarring of the lungs from some kind of physical trauma. To give you an example of what it was like, for the last few months of his life, Greg had trouble walking and had to use an oxygen tank. He took that thing everywhere he went. He had to give up a promising career as a chiropractor and slowly suffocated to death as his lungs replaced healthy tissue with scar tissue.
When Greg died he left behind his lovely wife Robin and his five children are now without a father. I went to the funeral and about 300 people had turned out to say farewell to him.
So on this day, September 11, 2009, try to hold a thought for not only the victims of 9/11, but also the survivors, who in many cases are victims too. And contribute to one of many funds that are helping the families of these victims.