The scene of devastation, taken Sept. 28, 2001, of the fallen World Trade Center, where toxic air sickened hundreds of recovery workers. (Photo by Andrea Booher, for FEMA)
Joe Dowd: A thousand dead, and still counting
I didn’t know there was a living monument near here dedicated to 9/11 first responders. I should have known; now, at least, I do.
Who could know that there are more than 1,000 names carved into granite there, a living testament to unflinching bravery and unrelenting devotion?
And the names enshrined there are in no way a complete list of the dead. Not by a long shot.
Who knew that America’s darkest day would linger in the toxic air, a miasma of disease attacking people years after the vile, sneak attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Who knew that for first responders, searching for victims meant risking their own lives? Even if they did know, they would have searched that poisoned war zone anyway, combed every inch until everyone, the living and the dead, could come home.
The government should have known; it claimed the air was safe. But our government wanted the world to know that America was open for business. And because of that, people died.