Every year our solemn nation comes together to grieve as we remember the atrocities that were carried out on September 11th 2001 when multiple commercial airlines were hijacked by cowardly terrorists.
We can’t forget how our 9/11 firefighters and police officers responded in the wake of such a despicable tragedy. Many of those first responders risked their lives to save others, digging through rubble for weeks, and some of them became cancer ridden due to their heroics.
A federal fund that takes care of the first responders’ ailments known as the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is about to expire and one former comedian who championed the fund blasted “shameful” Congress because they’ve failed to put more money into the fund.
It was the most harrowing tragedy that’s ever taken place on American soil.
Nineteen men affiliated with al-Qaeda and ordered by their leader Osama bin Laden orchestrated one of the deadliest terror attacks in world history.
These terrorists were separated into four teams, hijacking four commercial airlines, two of which smashed into the World Trade Center twin towers in Manhattan, one that crashed into the Pentagon and the last lone failure in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Many of the first responders were exposed to toxic substances they encountered at all three sites – but specifically the World Trade Center – was the deadliest of the three. This exposure to toxic substances was proven to cause many deadly ailments including cancer in these first responders.
That’s why the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was established in 2011 in order to take care of these first responders and it’s now close to depletion.
Former host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart, has championed this fund since day one and the retired comedian showed up to Congress on Tuesday to blast Congress for neglecting these first responders.
Stewart opened his nearly ten-minute speech, powerfully, by saying, “I want to thank Mr. Collins and Mr. Nadler for putting this together. But as I sit here today, I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to. Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress. Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one. Shameful. It’s an embarrassment to the country and it’s a stain on this institution. And you should be ashamed of yourselves for those that aren’t here. But you won’t be because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.”
He even noted how many of those Congressmen and women who weren’t there all tweeted out “Never Forget the heroes of 9/11.”
Stewart stewed, “And I’m sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic. But I’m angry, and you should be too, and they’re all angry as well and they have every justification to be that way. There is not a person here, there is not an empty chair on that stage that didn’t tweet out ‘Never Forget the heroes of 9/11. Never forget their bravery. Never forget what they did, what they gave to this country.’ Well, here they are. And where are they? And it would be one thing if their callous indifference and rank hypocrisy were benign, but it’s not. Your indifference cost these men and women their most valuable commodity: time. It’s the one thing they’re running out of.”
Whatever your political affiliation is; it shouldn’t matter because Stewart is one hundred percent right on this issue.
NPR recently noted, “The $7.3 billion fund has already paid out about $5 billion to 21,000 claimants. But it still has about 19,000 additional unpaid claims to address. With resources rapidly dwindling, the fund said any pending claims will be paid at 50 percent of their prior value. Claims received after Feb. 1 of this year will be paid at 30 percent.”
These first responders need to be better taken care of and Stewart is using his celebrity for good and it just might’ve worked shaming Congress (on both sides) for not being more proactive about the health of these great American heroes.