New 9/11 Memorial on LI Will Name Sickened Responders
On Monday, September 11, the 16th anniversary of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center, the Town of Hempstead has officially dedicated a memorial that it has built. The monument is in Point Lookout, on Long Island's south shore, which has a view of the famed Towers and their heartbreaking devastation. The $1.3 million dedication features a twisted, 30-foot-tall beam of steel from the Trade Center planted like a flag. It includes an elevated walkway and granite plaques engraved with the names of the almost 3,000 people who perished in the terror attacks.
In addition, a separate plaque will honor the names of 582 police officers, firefighters, cleanup volunteers, construction workers, and others who volunteered at the rubble of the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the attacks and, years later, died from causes thought to be linked to smoke and toxic dust at the site. Supplementary space will be reserved to add more names. The memorial also includes a plaque pointing in the direction of the visibly rebuilt Freedom Towers.
“I think what the town of Hempstead is doing is nothing short of honorable,” said John Feal, a longtime advocate for 9/11 responders who now suffer from health ailments. “People who lost a loved one to illness suffer just like someone lost on that day. Hopefully this will offer some ease and comfort to them.”
As reported by Associated Press, the memorial joins the recent effort to recognize also the people who fell ill after partaking in the rescue and recovery operation. In May, officials at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum similarly announced plans to allot commemorative space at the WTC to give due honor to rescue and recovery workers. Staten Island has recently added a plaque with names of their residents who died from related illnesses. NY's police and fire departments have also made memorials.
The long-term health impact of the sooty air at the Trade Center site is an ongoing study. Pinpointing how many people's serious illnesses are directly linked to the exposure is a challenge. Approximately 30,000 people have applied for the government compensation fund set up for 9/11 related illnesses. So far, $3 billion has been granted. Officials are still reviewing claims. Roughly 2,700 of the 17,400 people with approved claims have cancer. Through the end of August, 144 of the approved claims were granted to people who died of a linked illness.
“I truly believe that everyone there that day was a hero,” said Robert Gies, who was 13 when his father, NYC Fire Department Lt. Ronnie Gies, perished in the south tower. “Whether they died on 9/11 or four years later, every person is a hero. Those people who worked there in the aftermath in those hazardous conditions, those people touch my heart. They rushed there to save and find my father. They found him and he was able to be laid to rest. That's huge closure.”
On Monday, September 11, the 16th anniversary of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center, the Town of Hempstead has officially dedicated a memorial that it has built. The monument is in Point Lookout, on Long Island’s south shore, which has a view of the famed Towers and their heartbreaking devastation