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THE SHAME ON OUR DOORSTEP

 
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DMCKEON
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Joined: Mar 17, 2005
Posts: 22572
Location: Staten Island

PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:26 pm    Post subject: THE SHAME ON OUR DOORSTEP
From Sat Feb 03, 2007 2:00 am to Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:59 am (included)
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THE SHAME ON OUR DOORSTEP
ON TWO CRUCIAL 9/11 ISSUES NEW YORK HAS FAILED AMERICA

As another holiday season fades from memory and we embark upon a new year, we cannot forget where we have gone wrong at Ground Zero. Two areas in particular are foremost in that failure.
First of these two is the issue regarding the listing of those killed on the final memorial. A recent proposal by Mayor Bloomberg would have many think that the issue has satisfied all concerned. However, this proposal is simply a step in the right direction. Despite some support by one of the Fire unions, there is still widespread opposition as it falls far short of what the majority of 9/11 families and Americans have long sought. Numerous polls, petitions, and rallies have demonstrated this position.
The latest design does group the rescue workers together in some fashion by their respective units. But those same rescue workers will not be identified by their department or by a paramilitary descending order of rank as has always been requested. Since when do we strip heroes of their appropriate rank and designation? Such ignominy should be reserved for prisoners and the like, not for heroes whom we say we will never forget. When everyday Americans, and in particular military veterans, hear of this denial they are astonished and saddened. They all ask the same question: “Why not?”
Additionally, most civilian family groups will receive no designation whatsoever. Whom or what does it offend to provide these families with the designation that they wish for their lost loved ones? One argument says that if we gave the rank to the first responders then we would have to give myriad titles to the civilians. This is patently false. Most civilian family groups simply want their loved ones employer designation with their age and the floor they worked on within the associated tower which is a fairly modest request. A proposal hammered out over two years ago by the groups representing both rescue worker and civilian families and given to numerous officials bears this out.
The second issue is that of the continuing search for human remains. This “search” has become nothing short of an abomination. How many more ways can the city invent to twist the dagger that is still lodged in the heart of every family member?
In November of 2001 officials said that no more remains could be found. Whatever hadn’t been found by then was surely incinerated. The next 6 months of recoveries proved how wrong they were then. Fast forward to early 2006. As the Deutcshe Bank Building is being demolished hundreds of remains are found, a building that the city said had been searched properly. Families again have to beg the city to perform an extensive search of the entire Ground Zero area. They request a unit such as the military unit known as JPAC (Joint POW/Accounting Command). The city again says they have searched every area necessary and that no outside help is required.
Later that year, in October, a Con Edison crew during a routine manhole cleaning operation discovered hundreds more remains under the service road on the western edge of Ground Zero. Imagine that dagger again as families realize that remains of 9/11 dead have been sucked up by a utility vacuum truck. The city has expanded the search somewhat after these incidents, but it is still a piecemeal, hit-and-miss approach.
The city obviously has its reasons for avoiding a comprehensive search. One reason to be sure is that they view such a search as representative of an unacceptable delay in the re-development of the site. But how can re-development take place when the human remains of the 9/11 dead are still being found and when it is likely that they will continue to be found? That fact alone is more than enough to vitiate the argument that the location in question is Lower Manhattan and re-development must be paramount. Besides, much of the delays that have taken place over the last five years can be attributed to those supposedly in charge, not to the families or the search for remains. A basic tenet of civilized societies is that one does not desecrate either a battlefield or a burial ground. Ground Zero happens to be both. Building over and paving over the dead is tantamount to desecration. What have we become as a nation and as a society, when such as this is allowed? One would think that simple human decency and dignity would prevail.
It is time to strip the patina that has shrouded these issues. History is watching us. If we fail to record the truth of what happened on 9/11/01 and continue to attempt revisions to those events, history should--and must--judge harshly those responsible. The attacks of September 11, 2001 were manifest in just three locations, but it was all of America that was attacked. And it is all of America that we will fail if we continue on this path. It is not too late. Let us honor those that fell by first recovering their remains in a dignified fashion. And then, on the memorial, appropriately and fully honor their memory. For this is not just a memorial to the fallen, it is a memorial for all Americans and one that must stand the test of time. One hundred years from now one must not have to wonder who was a firefighter or a police officer or a bond trader. It should be a memorial that simply, yet powerfully lets that individual know automatically. It is time to tell the story of 9/11/01, and it is time to tell it correctly. America and history demand it.

James McCaffrey
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