I suspect there are lots of posts on lots of blogs about this anniversary. I won’t dwell on the loss to our country or way of life that day. Enough said. I do want to spend a moment talking about a friend. He consistently asks to stay anonymous, so I respect that request.
This friend worked the command posts at ground zero in New York. He knows all there is to know about emergency large-scale police operations. He also wrote the book on hazardous materials. No, really — he wrote the book. This is critical to my story because he knew exactly what he was breathing in those first 5 days. He knew, but he stayed. They all stayed.
In fact he stayed for weeks. Working on little or no sleep, he was there to assist in the tough decisions. He carried body parts and notified relatives. He helped the mayor decide that no one else could be alive in that rubble and it was time to get the city going again. He cried for hours, and I suspect he still does.
I met this man later, some years later actually. I have only heard a few of his stories. They were enough. He, like so many rescue workers from the three sites, is now sick. A few years post 9-11 he learned of several tumors in various organs. There is no doubt in the doctors’ opinions that these are related to his work at ground zero.
How has a grateful nation thanked him? To this day, he is contemplating a lawsuit as the only way to convince the government to assist with his medical treatment. His rationale for hesitating: “The suit seems unpatriotic; I did what I knew I had to do.” I have no doubt he would do it all again tomorrow. Sad to realize our elected leaders are showing their appreciation in red tape and failing health.
I hope my friend and his partners from that incredible week get to this post, and my simple, “Thank You” helps a bit.