DemDaily: 17 Years Later The Assault Continues

September 11, 2018

It has been 17 years since a group of al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airplanes and, in a coordinated plan, carried out the worst terrorist attack in our country's history.

Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were forced to crash into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, collapsing both 110-story buildings within two hours.

The Twin Towers Fall (pic: Getty)

A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, leading to a partial collapse of the building's west side.

The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, initially targeted for Washington, D.C., crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after its passengers bravely sacrificed their lives to thwart the hijackers.

3,000 Americans were murdered that day, including 343 firefighters and 71 police officers.

While a new generation of Americans learns about the devastating assault on our country every September 11th, those of us living during the attack will forever remember where we were at the time, and the reality that pearced our way of life and the seemingly safe bubble of our homeland.

But for the families of responders and victims who subsequently died from toxic exposure, and the thousands of those who continue to suffer long-term health effects, the assault is still very real.

Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon

Every 2.7 days a victim of a 9/11-related illness dies.

The tragedy is not over.

Following the 2001 attack, The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund ("VCF") was created to provide compensation for any individual (or a personal representative of a deceased individual) who suffered physical harm or was killed as a result of the  September 11th attacks.

The original VCF operated from 2001-2004, but was reactivated under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (Zadroga Act), which President Barack Obama signed into law on January 2, 2011.

The Zadroga Act also created The World Trade Center Health Program, which provides treatment services and medical benefits to first responders, volunteers, and survivors . The Act was reauthorized in 2015 to extend medical benefits to affected individuals though 2090.

72,000 people are enrolled in The World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, including firefighters, police officers, utility workers, medical examiners and others.  Of them, 8,000 already have cancer.

Under the Trump administration's proposed budget in March, medical benefits to 9/11 survivors would have been restructured, resulting in less resources, but the proposal was defeated in the House Appropriations Committee.

Comedian Jon Stewart lobbied Congress to help defeat Trump proposal to restructure survivor's health benefits

The Victims Compensation Fund itself, however, is only funded through 2020, when it will be up for reauthorization.



Each September 11th is a painful reminder of those we lost, but also of the way Americans came together and triumphed in spirit over those who attempted to divide us.  It is a lesson in history that continues to teach.

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Wikipedia, NYPost, Fox, Politico. MSNBC

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