There is nothing quite like living through a catastrophic event of either natural or man-made proportions. In that of course we include in the latter, 9/11, which sure felt like a force of nature.
We experienced it directly (not to mention its blowback on the other side of the pond in England a few years later) in Washington, New York and London over the past decade.
Those experiences, perspectives, and ideas are very much embedded in our sense of purpose in getting Freedom Riders off the ground.
We look at where we are today (beginning the process of preparing our first proforma) and hope it is a fitting signal that we managed to do this right in time for the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.
In this time of good news for us, however, we also want to pause and reflect on the fate of those less fortunate.
It is coming to light that cancer is indeed one of the additional tragic health effects suffered by those who answered the frantic calls for help from the southern tip of Manhattan almost a decade ago today. Somehow, these folks were left out of the First Responders’ Health Bill passed earlier this year (and almost not passed until frankly the weighing in of Jon Stewart of all people).
The personal experience, even as a spectator, of the tragic pall that hung in the air (along with an awful, acrid smell) that literally lingered for months after the incident, along with daily passages by several of the lower Manhattan Firehouses decked in wreaths is not one that can be forgotten. It was like walking through a daily Holocaust Museum.
It was also, in a very strange way, reminiscent of stories we had heard about the Blitz in London growing up. The attempt to regain daily activities in the aftermath of a horrific bombing campaign was an experience that appeared to mark a generation of Londoners. It was almost as visible, if one knew where to look, as the tattooed scar of the Death Camps.
However the idea of being a “First Responder” to a national disaster and then being thrown away is something that speaks to a larger national “natural” disaster. One that has been created by a creaking system that we hope to revive and reform.
On a moral as well as a bottom line level, it is these kinds of reasons that drive us forward to make our company become a reality.
We are not quite sure how we have managed to travel so far so fast this year, but we are very grateful to the growing team of Charlotteans who share our purpose, our hopes and our dreams and who have also made this possible.
- Firefighters responding to 9/11 at increased cancer risk – CNN (news.google.com)
- 9/11 First Responders Create Documentary, Book As Tribute (huffingtonpost.com)
- For 9/11 first responders, inadequate medical assistance an insult to heroism (nj.com)