Every year, Grunt Style honors the solemn tradition of reading the names of the 9/11 victims. However, the unseen toll extends far beyond that terrible day as a silent killer continues to take American lives.
Those at ground zero have been diagnosed, at an alarming rate, with a myriad of maladies. These have ranged from treatable illnesses, to life ending cancers. Survivors, first responders, and cleanup crews, have all paid a heavy price since then.
The CDC has stated, “Since 9/11, over 69,800 people have been diagnosed with physical and mental health conditions resulting from exposure to the dust, debris, and traumatic events of 9/11.”
For years, there was little to no help for all those people suffering. As a result, the nation rallied around non-profit organizations, like the FealGood Foundation, to get funding for the victims.
In 2010, the Zadroga Act was signed into law. This ensured a federal program to provide monitoring and treatment for responders and survivors with linked health conditions. It also established the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, and the WTC Health Registry.
It is thought that more people have died as a result of these toxic exposures than did on September 11th, 2001. We cannot confirm this, but the assessment is based on the amount of reported deaths to the compensation fund, and health registry. As you can imagine, there is a considerable backlog.
This time of year can be a somber period in America. Yes, we reflect on the cowardly attacks from 21 years ago, but we do not merely abide in fear. We take this time to recognize what unites us, and what we stand for.
Many of the same people who fought for the Zadroga Act also fought for the PACT Act. We must never forget the lives lost on 9/11, but we must also remember those who suffered for years after surviving.
A 2019 study showed that 9/11 first responders have a higher risk of cancer. However, a 2021 study showed they also have a higher chance to survive. This is a testament to the indomitable spirit shown by the heroes that answered the call on one of our nation’s darkest days.