New York State Funeral Directors Association

I wrote a note on a piece of plywood that surrounded what was left of the World Trade Center site back in 2002.

It was about four months after the Sept. 11 attacks. My wife and I went to pay our respects, and we added a note to hundreds of other condolences people left as they waited in line to see the site.

I know I expressed remorse for all those killed – but I didn’t know then that so many more would be lost.

I realized this while attending the New York State Police Officers Memorial ceremony in Albany.Sept. 11 Memorial at NYS Crime Victims Memorial in Albany

Here it was, sixteen years after the rubble stopped smoldering and we continue to learn of additional lives claimed by the deadly attacks.

And what’s worse is the fact that many of those who are dying are among the select few members of our society who dedicated their lives to helping others.

Police in general stare down a difficult fate every day they go to work.

They’re not only facing the threat of disease from exposure to noxious chemicals but also the threat of people who will kill them.

PoliceMemorialJust take a look at the Officer Down Memorial webpage to get an idea how police officers die.

Forty-five were already lost before mid-May of 2017 – with causes of death including gunfire, automobile crash, vehicular assault, drowning, exposure to toxins, heart attack and assault, among others.

In 2017, New York State commemorated 40 new names added to the memorial wall - it names police officers who died as a result of the work they do.

And of that new list of 40, 38 were claimed by injuries and illnesses tied to responding to the World Trade Center attack.

Police – and other first-responders – ran towards the disaster site when it occurred or headed there to help out during the aftermath. And they’re paying for it with their lives.

THE GROWING DEATH TOLL

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s World Trade Center Health Program lists more than 80 different conditions affecting people who responded to the Sept. 11 attacks.

People are still battling conditions like Lymphoid leukemia, malignant neoplasms, mesothelioma, thyroid cancer and lymphoma in addition to mental health issues including depression, panic disorder and others.

There are reportedly more than 70,000 people registered with the World Trade Center health Program – the bulk of whom are New Yorkers. Roughly 37,000 people are recognized as being sick from post-9/11 illness.

There may be a need to build another memorial – one with plenty of room for the continued climb in the number of those who perished because of that fateful day in the fall of 2001.

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum features bronze parapets surrounding the memorial pools situated where the two skyscrapers once stood – with almost 3,000 names of those killed in the Sept. 11 attack and in the bombing in February of 1993.

With so many police officers dead and dying from 9/11-related illnesses, it’s fitting that the NYS Crime Victims Memorial is situated so closely to the Police Officers Memorial.

I don’t believe the police officers’ names are being etched into the bricks at the Victims Memorial – there’s a portion of this memorial surrounding a stone slab that reads “REMEMBERING 9-11-2001 VICTIMS OF TERRORISM.”

Perhaps all the names of the police, firefighters, EMTs and other first-responders should be added to this memorial – or better yet, a new one should be built.

With plenty of room for more names.

 


EdsPhotoEdward Munger Jr.
Communications & Social Media Specialist
NYS Funeral Directors Association