Today I, along with millions of Americans nationwide, watched Jon Stewart today on Capitol Hill excoriate Congress for its lack of attendance for this important committee regarding this important group of people. Also I, along with millions of other Americans, learned how difficult it has become for these first responders both FDNY and NYPD to receive adequate funding for healthcare, etc.
Congressman, 9/11 changed my life. I was a Detroiter before moved to Texas, had recently graduated from high school and was working at a Walmart as an unloader when the unthinkable occurred the morning after my shift. I watched in absolute horror as thousands of my fellow Americans died in the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania. I remember falling asleep to the news and waking up to it the next day.
Soon I, along with millions of other Americans, would find my way down to a recruiters office to swear an oath to protect and defend this country. On 9/11 I and many others across the country became a New Yorker. For weeks, months, years after the event, the colors of our flag were never more beautiful than they were then as people flew them on their houses, and drove around with them as if they were themselves some high-level political official on their way to some meeting with foreign dignitaries.
What I saw today with the testimony of Stewart as well as the testimonies from many of the FDNY and NYPD first responders broke my heart and angered me as not only an American, as not only a veteran of a foreign war but as a human being. I watched that retired NYPD officer, who’d survived 68 rounds of chemotherapy drag himself before a congressional meeting that was less than half full with hat in hand to beg Congress to do what it should have done (signed, sealed, and delivered) 18 years prior.
In the 18 or so years since that infamous day, it has become politically fashionable to make fun of New Yorkers, or New York politics. We have politicians who use it as a segway into us vs them debates over leadership styles of political parties. And yet, even I, let their memory grow dim in my own mind. No more. It’s not funny anymore. The political discourse lo these past several years has ground Congress to a standstill and threatens to make Osama Bin Laden a Post Humous victor in the Global War on Terror. A war that has cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. This threat becomes all too visible when we allow the victims of the 9/11 terror attack and their champions to languish in poverty and in ill health.
This situation needs to be addressed immediately and with a finality to it that puts these men and women’s minds, bodies, and spirits at ease until the time comes in which they no longer require the funding. As a citizen inside your district, as a citizen of the United States, as a human being, I demand quick and decisive action on the part of your office in making sure that this is taken care of.
Good Day to you sir.
Frederick Feeley Jr