Terror attacks on 9/11 still claim victims
The 9/11 attacks are still claiming victims today. And the terror attacks will continue to take lives for years to come.
The new deaths don't generate the shock of the thousands who died on that infamous day 11 years ago, but the tragedy is just as great.
We, of course, know of our military personnel continuing to die each week in Afghanistan fighting terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11.
But it is less commonly recognized that first responders, some living near the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and ground zero workers have also been dying since then of various illnesses related to their exposure to debris and contaminated air.
More than 3,000 people died in the attacks themselves but that number could eventually pale in comparison to those who have died since then and will die in the future. Some believe 1,000 people have already died from their exposure to contaminants, and the Reuters news agency reported 20,000 ground zero workers are being treated for various related health conditions and 40,000 are being monitored.
The fate of rescue responders and others who worked at the ground zero or were exposed to it was belatedly recognized by the federal government. The first attention to their health problems came in the form of a law two years ago to provide compensation and treatment for those impacted by their work there.
This law was expanded Monday to include 14 types of cancer not previously included in illnesses eligible for compensation.
Each passing year makes the event more distant in the minds of many Americans, but it is never far away for those who worked at ground zero — and it never will be until the day they die.
We need to honor and remember these later victims as much as we honor those who had their lives snatched from them on 9/11 itself.