Remembering ALL of 9/11’s victims and those still suffering | Smith

Twenty-two years later we remember the horror and pain suffered by the nearly 3,000 individuals who were murdered and the anguish felt by their families and friends both then and now.

We remember and honor the courageous first responders running up the stairs of the burning buildings—with total disregard for their own safety—attempting to save others at the expense of their own lives.

We remember and honor the heroic firefighters, police officers, paramedics and civilian support staff members who have suffered and died from illnesses related to the rescue and recovery efforts in the aftermath of one of the darkest days in U.S. history.

Over 5,700 have died from illnesses caused by 9/11—months and years after the initial terror attack

According to the CDC, “nearly twenty-two years after 9/11, nearly 80,000 have physical and mental health conditions as a result of exposure to the dust, smoke, debris, and traumatic events.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that in addition to toxic materials including lead, mercury, and polyvinyl chloride that were released on 9/11, “up to 2000 tons of asbestos” was released that was used in the construction of the World Trade Center.

On Wednesday, the New York City Fire Department added 43 new names to its World Trade Center Memorial Wall commemorating the brave members of the FDNY who died to post 9/11 illnesses.

The total number is 331—nearly equal to the number of firefighters killed in the Twin Towers—and is expected to continue to grow.

We especially remember and honor the 750 New Jersey residents—including the 147 from Monmouth County and 19 from Ocean County—who were murdered by terrorists and the anguish felt by their families and friends, both then and now.

Kathy Wisniewski then a Howell resident and member of my staff since 2006 lost her beloved husband Alan on 9/11.

Alan’s was associate director for Sandler O’Neill Investment and his office was on the 104th floor of the South Tower.  His last phone call before his tower fell was to say: “I’m OK”.  Then United Airlines flight 175 crashed into his building.

Through Kathy, and their three children—as well from the other survivors— we’ve all gotten a better understanding of the deep pain and agony suffered by family and close friends.

As an effective leader on behalf of 9/11 victims, Kathy is right now in New York City at the 9/11 ceremony.

On the morning of 9/11, I got a mere glimpse into the sense of horror suffered by the victim’s families when I couldn’t reach my own brother Tom—an American Airlines 757 Captain who often piloted Flight 11 from Logan to LA, the flight that crashed into the North Tower.

Evacuated from the Capitol and stuck in traffic within sight of the burning Pentagon, cell phones were all but gridlocked. About noon I got through.  He and his flight attendant wife Sandy were safe but were in tears because they knew the pilots and crew on board Flight 11.

So, as we remember all the victims of 9/11, may each of us seriously recommit to prayer and works to ensure that violence in all of its ugly manifestations including terrorism be mitigated.

We must never forget 9/11 and be ever vigilant that the perpetrators of violence and terrorism never take a holiday—nor can we.

Chris Smith
About Chris Smith 14 Articles
CHRIS SMITH serves New Jersey's 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.