(UnitedVoice.com) – Twenty-two years ago, terrorists hijacked four planes and flew them into targets in the eastern United States. They were the worst terrorist attacks in American history. The official death toll from the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, was 2,977.
After the Twin Towers fell, the city decided to rebuild. One World Trade Center was erected where the towers once stood, and there is a memorial for those who died. A wall was erected in a memorial garden for the Fire Department of NYC (FDNY) in Brooklyn. The department has now added more names to that wall.
A Tribute to Heroes
In 2011, the FDNY erected a wall to honor the firefighters who have died from 9/11-related illnesses. The World Trade Center Memorial Wall has an inscription that pays homage to those who “bravely served this department protecting life and property […] in the rescue and recovery effort” at the World Trade Center.
On September 5, the FDNY announced that it was adding 43 more names. The department held the ceremony the next day, putting up nameplates for each of the heroes who died over the last year from illnesses related to the response and recovery efforts. It was the second-largest batch of names since the original 55 names were placed on the wall in 2011.
Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh spoke at the dedication, saying the department “continues to feel the impact of that day” 22 years after the attacks. The memorial in Brooklyn grows every year, she explained, honoring the “brave men and women [who] showed up that day” and the days after. She said the department “will never forget them.”
The Memorial Continues to Grow
According to studies, 9/11 first responders are at an increased risk of developing prostate and thyroid cancer. They are also more likely than civilians to develop leukemia. Mesothelioma and lung cancer are some of the illnesses that firefighters who were there helping rescue people after the attacks have developed.
When the World Trade Center buildings collapsed on September 11, 2001, 343 FDNY personnel died. In the decades since that day, 331 firefighters have died from illnesses related to the attack. If FDNY members continue to die at the current rate, next year there will be more firefighters dead from illnesses than those killed on that fateful day.
The nation is forever grateful to the first responders who put themselves in harm’s way on 9/11 and afterward to rescue and recover the victims of those horrific attacks.
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