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9/11 aftermath gets the first responders as world mourns victims

Published time: September 12, 2010 12:47
Edited time: September 12, 2010 12:47

The victims of 9/11 are being remembered in the US on Saturday. American president Barack Obama has visited the Pentagon, where military authorities and relatives of the victims have commemorated those who died.

American First Lady Michelle Obama, along with former First Lady Laura Bush, is visiting Pennsylvania, where one of the planes hijacked by terrorists, crashed in the September 11 attacks.

Commemorative events are being held in many places around the world, Russia among them. Dozens have come to lay flowers at the US Embassy in the Russian capital.

A service has also been held at an American church in the city. It was there that the US Ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle, compared terrorism with Nazism and said the two countries are united in the fight against it.

”Over the years that we have held these ceremonies, I have come to understand they mean something larger. As a memory to the victims of terrorism throughout the world and, as our President Obama said in his expression of condolences after the recent terrorist attack in Vladikavkaz, these terrorist acts only strengthen our resolve to work together, to stand against terrorism and to protect our people and our children. We are allies today in the fight against the main source of evil in 21st Century.”

Nine years ago the first responders of the tragic events of the 9/11 attack were held as heroes who risked their lives to save others, yet today they still suffer the consequences without much help from the state.

They say they fell victim of their own government as they were left struggling by themselves with the illnesses they contracted during the rescue operations.

9/11 first responder Gary White was an American hero in 2001. In 2010, the 9/11 first responder represents an exploding health crisis, U.S. officials have failed to address, and continue questioning him as to whether he “actually get diagnosed as being directly sick from 9/11”.

“It’s totally across the page. Carcinoma, sarcoma, gall bladder cancer, liver cancer,” as Gary White names his diseases.

The retired NYPD detective spent six months sifting through World Trade Center debris and clouds of toxins, later resulting in asthma, sleep apnea, post neurological problems, and two strokes.

“The first [stroke] one was massive. I was paralyzed. I lost command of my speech. I had to learn how to walk and talk again,” recalls White.

But the police department denies his illnesses are linked to 9/11, leaving the 23-year veteran with mounting medical debt and a daily dose of 15 medications consisting of pills against inflammation, pills to stop the cramping and blood pressure medications.

The worst attack on US soil took nearly 3,000 human lives in a matter of hours. In the nine years that past, 900 first responders have died, victims of their own courage.

NYPD sergeant Michael Ryan was diagnosed with three types of cancers before losing his battle at just 41 years old.

Eileen Ryan is just one among many widows who lost husbands post 9/11.

“All these men and women are fighting for their lives right now. It’s a process. It’s time. It’s watching a loved one disintegrate in front of your face in just a fight to stay alive,” Eileen Ryan says.

It’s a fight that can break even the strongest. 9/11 first responder John Devlin was diagnosed with throat cancer that resulted in hospital bills topping one million dollars.

“We do so much overseas. And I’m not saying don’t do it. We’re a powerful nation. We should lead by example. But we’re not leading by example here when you turn your backs on the 9/11 emergency responders,” John Devlin says.

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