2018-09-12 / Features

National 9/11 Memorial To Honor Those Who Have Fallen Since Attacks

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

In the aftermath of September 11, about 1.8 tons of debris were removed from Ground Zero.

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum on May 30 unveiled a design to recognize and honor those who are sick or have died from exposure to World Trade Center toxins, to be integrated into the memorial plaza, 16 years after the formal end to the rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero.

“The impacts of the 9/11 attacks did not end when the site was cleared, nor when the memorial and the museum were built,” said Alice Greenwald, 9/11 Memorial and Museum president and CEO in a May 30 press release.

September 11 will never be forgotten. On that day 2,996 people, including 19 terrorist hijackers, were killed and more than 600 others were injured. But on September 12, the recovery began.

New York City and Port Authority police as well as city firefighters, while still fighting fires that burned beneath the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center, began to search for survivors, and other volunteers, including members of the ironworkers and workers of the demolition and construction trades also came to Ground Zero to help with the rescue effort.

The former landfill at Fresh Kills in Staten Island was chosen as the site for a massive investigation of one million tons of evidence and remains that were transported by barge over the next 10 months from Photo public domain A fireman can be seen in silhouette at the base of the rubble. the World Trade Center site.

By September 17, the hazards and complexity of working at Ground Zero became evident and it was mandated by city authorities that all workers at the site be credentialed and most volunteers were replaced by a professional workforce. On September 18, following previous announcements that air quality tests revealed no cause for public concern, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release saying that air and drinking water near the World Trade Center are safe. But preliminary tests by the EPA had already indicated elevated levels of asbestos and heavy metals in the dust that fell on Lower Manhattan when the towers collapsed.

The dust, made of pulverized building materials, industrialized chemicals, and electronics mingled with jet fuel residue, would be found to contain asbestos, lead, mercury, benzene, silica, and man-made vitreous fibers.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to have been exposed to toxins at the World Trade Center site, both on the day of 9/11 and during the months of recovery operations that followed,” said Greenwald in the May 30 release. “As a result, many now suffer from life-threatening diseases (and) far too many have already died.”

The design includes a pathway, flanked by large stones pointed skyward, that will be part of a grassy area called The Memorial Glade and will occupy the southwest side of the plaza, just west of the Survivor Tree. The new path location is roughly where the primary ramp used during the rescue effort once stood.

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