NEW YORK, N.Y. – On Thursday, a new memorial was dedicated to victims of the September 11 attacks that are sick or who have died from illnesses stemming from the events.
Since the deadly attacks, more than 10,000 first responders and victims have been diagnosed with cancer from toxic exposure at ground zero. More than 2,000 deaths have been attributed to the after effects, nearly surpassing the number of victims in the initial attacks.
The new 9/11 Memorial Glade was created for the purpose of honoring rescue, recovery and relief workers as well as survivors and downtown residents who got sick or died from 9/11-related illnesses.
So where were the governor and the mayor when the city was recognizing these heroes that risked or gave their lives to protect others?
Not at the memorial dedication.
Today’s Memorial Glade dedication marks the 17th anniv. of final rescue & recovery efforts at WTC site. For the more than 200 NYPD members who’ve since died of 9/11-related illnesses, & for those still suffering, the tragedy has not ended. We lost much that day – & it’s not over. pic.twitter.com/2730ZOwsBC
— Commissioner O'Neill (@NYPDONeill) May 30, 2019
A spokesperson for the 9/11 Museum confirmed that both Cuomo and de Blasio were invited, but neither showed. Their lack of appearance led to them being called out by emergency responders and their families.
“They ought to be ashamed of themselves . . . They should not be reelected at all because that’s not how you treat your citizens, your first responders,” said a woman whose brother died in 2016 from a 9/11 related illness.
Rob Serra has since retired from the FDNY, but in the days following the attacks on the Twin Towers, he worked the scene at ground zero.
Now he’s in a wheelchair because of the peripheral neuropathy that causes numbness in his limbs. He contracted the illness from the exposure to toxic materials in the wreckage.
“I think they should have been there, but one’s running a campaign and I don’t know where the other one is,” said Serra, referring to de Blasio’s recent push for the White House in 2020.
While the memorial was just blocks away from City Hall, reports showed that Mayor de Blasio went to Brooklyn for his morning coffee and usual workout in Park Slope on Thursday morning.
“Cuomo, meanwhile, had been expected to deliver a speech at the dedication, but canceled it at the last minute, organizers said. Instead, he sent the counsel to the governor, Alphonso David, while he hunkered down in Albany,” said the Post.
What kind of leadership and support is being displayed for for their constituents if they can’t bother to show up to pay tribute to heroes who risked or even gave their lives battling the most horrific attacks our country has ever seen?
9/11 Memorial & Museum spokeswoman, Olivia Egger, said that the governor was expected to attend and deliver a speech, but canceled at the last minute citing a scheduling conflict.
Other notable figures made an appearance, including former ‘Daily Show’ host Jon Stewart and former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg.
A woman whose husband had passed at age 43 as a result of cancer from the towers was outraged at the lack of support from the city’s leaders.
“We’re here where are they? They’ve seen through the years what’s been going on the suffering with the men and women that lost their lives post 9/11 … It’s not a good picture. It doesn’t look good you know,” she said.
“They should have been here, that’s the bottom line.”
If that’s not enough reason to question motives behind the city, it should be pointed out that while the state chipped in half a million dollars toward the new $5 million memorial, the city offered nothing. The rest of the money was received through fundraising.
The Glade is located at Liberty and West streets. It will include a path lined with six stone monoliths pointing toward the sky that “are worn, but not beaten, symbolizing strength and determination through adversity,” according to the museum.