How sorry would that be!
At first, I was taken aback by the latest slight to our first responders nearing the ten year anniversary of 9/11. I saw a Facebook post decrying the fact that, due to space constraints, first responders were not invited to take part in the ten year memorial service for 9/11. I couldn’t believe it. Since Facebook is awash in false claims I decided to fact check the post. Of course, the best place to quell the rumor mill first is Snopes. Snopes confirmed the story. I then went to the CNN website, as identified as the source for the Snopes article. Again, I saw confirmation.
I thought, ‘Wow! This is unbelievable!’ What a slap in the face for first responders all over the country, let alone the very first responders who, despite very real space constraints, showed up on the day America suffered one of its greatest tragedies. The men and women have spent the last years carrying the scars and the burden of lost comrades with every job they perform for their communities and for their country. Now this snub from Mayor Bloomberg!
It only took a couple of minutes before I realized that this wasn’t really all that exceptional. After all, the last couple of years have attested to the disregard that politicians have for their first responders. Such disdain was apparent with the political fight over providing 9/11 first responders health care coverage when so many of them are falling victim to the fires and debris of that fateful day even ten years after the fact. It took nine years to enact legislation to provide such coverage. How long do those first minutes seem when you or a loved one are facing an emergency and you are waiting for the first responders to arrive! Imagine waiting nine years for fundamental care. For many 9/11 first responders, this legislation came too late.
Then we find out that this legislation denies coverage for cancer. Cancer! The most pressing concern of our sick heroes. So many of our first responders fell victim to al Qaeda that day ten years ago. Yet many more were further victimized by their own government.
Then we further insult our first responders by blaming their exorbitant pensions for state budget problems. So the pressure is on to make our public sector “pay its fair share” for our trying economic times. Make the first responders give up some of the overly generous largesse doled out to them at the taxpayer’s expense. But don’t you dare raise taxes on yachts and limousines. After all, those belong to the job creators (who don’t happen to be creating any jobs!). Of course, the fact that the pension scaremongering among conservative politicians is not true doesn’t stop them from demanding “shared” sacrifice from our first responders.
So we really shouldn’t be surprised that Mayor Bloomberg is snubbing his city’s first responders. He’s only demonstrating the larger disdain of the political elite. Just one more insult for our first responders to swallow as they dutifully serve their communities.
Imagine, however, if you called your police, or your fire department because of a dire emergency and they informed you that they could not respond because of space constraints!