Sunday, November 28, 2021

Activists after September 11 attacks: “That smell will haunt me for the rest of my life”

New York. Twenty years ago, there was a turning point in thousands of lives when two planes collided with the Twin Towers. A society has risen from its rubble, which has struggled to build a better world by looking forward without forgetting the past. These are some of his stories.

John Feel: “That smell will haunt me for the rest of my life”

Twelve hours after the collapse, John Feel ran to the front line of Ground Zero and did his best as demolition supervisor for five and a half days, until he suffered a spectacular accident, when a nearly 4-ton metal beam fell on him. One leg, after which he spent eleven weeks in the hospital.

“We number non-uniform workers, union members, tradesmen, electricians and common plumbers, police and firefighters from five to one. Today they would continue cleaning Ground Zero if it weren’t for the men and women who used to come as ordinary citizens, and put their health aside,” he claims.

Feel speaks with Efe from his office at the Feelgood Foundation (a play on the words between his last name and the expression ‘feel good’), with whom he has supported other emergency workers in 9/11 who suffered health problems. are and have contributed 13 legislative measures have been approved in their favour.

“I’ll never forget the smell, the smell will haunt me for the rest of my life and so I probably don’t sleep much, but I like to remember the good, the empathy, the humanity,” he says. “We put aside titles, ideologies, political affiliations, agendas, skin colours, religions and we become human again.”

Facing the twentieth anniversary, he regrets that the world has lost the ability to “connect” with others and asks to recover that feeling: “Can we only remember the people we lost? Granted, terrible credit for senseless violence. And that we remember those who keep on losing for their heroic deeds.

Luz: “It completely changed my life”

5 offices of the World Trade Center, but on the morning of September 11, election day, in the Luz Garrett Tribeca neighborhood, a few blocks further to the north, volunteered for his union. The ashes-covered people arrive amid the sirens of an ambulance, where they soon begin.

“At that time I felt worthless, I couldn’t do anything (…) and I was thinking of the people who were inside, the coworkers who worked during the day, the ‘tenants’ (tenants) who You knew and are close to you… I worked in those buildings for 13 years,” he says of that day, claiming he didn’t speak for a long time.

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His union, SEIU32BJ, turned its facility into a “crisis center” for weeks to help locate and assist its members. 24 died, and thousands lost their jobs.

Garrett assured that 9/11 changed his life “absolutely”, particularly “with regard to helping others, not only with allies, but in both economic and racial forms of change and social justice.” As regards the demand”, in this sense, he is grateful that the union gave him an “opportunity” to join their ranks.

District leader in New Jersey today, federalists take stock and say families have “suffered a lot” and “must know history”, but criticizes that so many lives have been lost “because of a war that didn’t take us.” or nothing is going to happen.”

Leila Nordstrom, one of 300,000 who became ill from air poisoning

On September 11, 2001, Leila Nordstrom was a student on the third day of her classes at Stuyvesant High School in lower Manhattan. He felt the ground shaking, heard a huge explosion, and saw a “ball of fire” above the World Trade Center from the window.

“I ended up in the middle of a stampede of people heading north,” says Nordstrom, who returned to class a few weeks later because of an important “political decision” that marked his health and that of an entire community, which had taken a toll on the developing world. Eliminated the problems. The result of air poisoning near ground zero.

Nordstrom turned to activism and formed an organization called StuyHealth, together with a collaborator, who had been diagnosed with lymphoma—he had several—to affirm the right of children, especially those enrolled in the field, to medical expenses. To include in the compensation of, as if they received the emergency team. .

His struggle, which took him to the US Congress, is reflected in a memoir he recently published, “Some Kids Left Behind: A Survivor’s Fight for Health Care in the 9/11”, with which he records the experience. Wants to do “normal people” like him.

“Like first responders, we don’t have access to a legend of heroism. We’re just victims of a bad policy,” he explained, calculating how to request assistance for “developed illnesses related to 9/11.” “There are between 300,000 and 400,000 people who fit the federal criteria.”

Two decades later, she is not so worried that the new generation remembers the history of the attacks as they learn that “they can and should defend their interests when they fall prey to a great crisis.”

Nation World News Desk
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