June 11, 2019 Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart testified on Tuesday in front of Congress over the treatment of 9/11 first responders.
Stewart has been a staunch supporter and a voice for the victims and first responders, frequently appearing on Capitol Hill to lobby Congress for increased funding to aid those who suffered illnesses following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Last month, a new Memorial Glade honoring all first responders and recovery workers at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. Former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, the chairman of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, told hundreds gathered on the plaza for the ceremony:
“We have a duty to care for those who need it and to honor the memory of those who died. The memorial glade helps us to fulfill that duty.”
Thousands of first responders including fire fighters, paramedics, EMT workers, police officers and ground zero recovery workers have died from or are still battling diseases —including cancers that doctors with the World Trade Center Health Program have associated with exposure to toxic fumes and dust at Ground Zero.
In the months after 9/11, the United States Department of Homeland Security was created for the purpose of protecting the country from future terrorist attacks and disasters.
DHS adopted the “all hazard” approach to disaster management, focusing on the prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery phases. The goal of recovery is resilience — restoring the community to its previous state. Health experts emphasize that it is vital to ensure victims feel connected to their communities in the aftermath of disaster and have ongoing support available to them for as long as it takes.
U. S. intelligence sources continue to warn that evidence suggests both al-Qaeda and ISIS and affiliated terrorist groups continue to plot new attacks on the United States. How we treat our brave first responders and recovery workers sets an important precedent and sends a message to future responders.