We Must Not Forget Wounds of 9-11
As we pause and reflect on the 20th anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history, Sept. 11, 2001, we remember those who fell in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, and those who committed countless acts of bravery during the attacks.
We must also not forget those who were scared, injured, and disabled as these brave men and women, without regard for their safety, raced into burning buildings or searched for days in the hope of finding someone alive, or those who worked in the wreckage to find bodies and those who removed the crumbled toxic pieces from the sites.
As we have learned, many were left with lasting emotional scars, injuries, and disabilities. Even now, 20 years later, we are learning more and more about the suffering they are still experiencing. The death toll didn’t end on 9-11.
While some measures have been taken, there are way too many cases where these individuals have been forgotten and their voices silenced when they asked for help. If we are truly going to pay tribute to them, we need to make sure they receive the benefits they need to live.
On Sept. 11 each year, and every other day, we need to remember those who are still suffering from their acts of bravery, which they would say was “just their job.”
As people working in the disability community, like I do with NTI@Home, we cannot be silent when there is a clear need to help them get the medical care and the help for their disabilities they so rightfully deserve. Our voices in support of them must be heard loud and clear.
We must also not forget the families of these brave men and women who have been placed in caregiving roles, which we know can be very difficult and costly. Giving more support to the people giving the care should be a focus, whether it is financial or giving them a chance to work and be a caregiver, we should promote any efforts to do that.
The Biden administration is asking us as we remember 20 years later to do community service in their memories, proving good always beats evil. We don’t remember those who launched the attack, but rather the courage and bravery shown by so many on that day.
While we say thank you, we should add, what more can we do for you?
(Alan Hubbard is the chief operating officer at NTI@Home, a national nonprofit organization helping Americans with disabilities find at-home employment.)