On the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in which nearly 3,000 victims perished in a single day, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero has installed a new memorial honoring more recent victims of the attacks. Known as the 9/11 Memorial Glade, the memorial honors the thousands of police officers, fire fighters and other rescue workers who fell ill or died following exposure to the toxins released in the rubble of the towers. The memorial consists of six large granite slabs inlaid with steel salvaged from the original World Trade Center that flank a tree-lined walkway on the memorial grounds. Unlike the memorial’s waterfall pools, the slabs are not emblazoned with the names of those they honor, reflecting the ongoing nature of a tragedy whose full victim count is still unknown.
The design of the original 9/11 memorial was chosen in January 2004, less than three years after the attacks. While there was widespread speculation that rescue and recovery workers had been exposed to potentially toxic materials at Ground Zero, the long-term effects of that exposure were not yet known, and no deaths attributable to it had been recorded. That all changed mid-decade as rescue workers began to fall ill and die from 9/11-related cancers. As of August 2018, nearly 10,000 people are believed to have suffered cancers linked to the toxic dust and smoke from Ground Zero, 1,700 of whom have died.
As the number of deaths began to grow and the public became more aware of the long-term health effects threatening 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, a movement began to recognize these fallen heroes as additional victims of the 9/11 attacks. While officials at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum initially had misgivings about adding a memorial to later victims, they eventually agreed to it, recognizing that the memorial would need to change as our interpretation of the events of 9/11 continues to evolve. As one rescue worker stated, the memorial has a “responsibility — especially where it’s located, on sacred ground — to continue to tell the story.”
9/11 Rescue and Recovery Workers Still Face Dangers
Even 18 years after 9/11, the attacks continue to claim victims. First responders who assisted with rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero face a significantly higher risk of developing brain cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and many other cancers. They are also at an increased risk of dying as a result of suicide. In recognition of the ongoing health crisis facing these individuals, Congress recently passed the “Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act,” which reauthorizes the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund through the year 2090 and ensures that the heroes of 9/11 will always be provided for.
If You Still Need Help, Please Contact a 9/11 Lawyer
If you or someone you love is still suffering the effects of 9/11, you may be entitled to compensation through the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. For more information about filing a claim, please contact a 9/11 lawyer at Pitta & Baione by using our online contact form or by calling us at 844-WTC-COMP.