Monday, March 26, 2018

Everyday heroes

Gerard Fitzgerald, of the firefighters' union the UFANYC, told the BBC that of the 10,000 active firefighters and 6,000 retirees who attended Ground Zero on or after 9/11, about 2,000 had gone on to suffer some form of cancer.
He fears the alarming rate of cancer cases among New York firefighters could soon increase substantially. It's feared that 9/11 first responders were exposed to significant amounts of asbestos, but cancers caused by asbestos exposure rarely emerge until 15 years later....
According to the CDC, just under 70,000 people who helped during 9/11 have applied for medical aid after the disaster, as have about 14,300 people who were in New York City at the time.

the article uses two men who recently died of cancer.

Photo credit: KALEY YOUNG

Keith Young, who recently died of cancer, was a celebrated chef as well as a firefighter

and Thomas Phalen, who was not an NYFD at the time (although he later joined the FD) but a civilian who operated a tourist ferry.

Photo credit: UFANYC

This story didn't get a lot of publicity, but when the subways and bridges and tunnels were closed (for public safety), it was civilians who helped evacuate the stranded so they could get home:

About 500,000 people are estimated to have been taken to safety by boat in only nine hours - the largest evacuation in New York City's history. 

so many heroes.


another hero: the French policemanLieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, 44 who was killed after he took the place of a female hostage in a standoff with a terrorist.

They held a mass in his honor, attended by local Christians and Muslims.


AlJ also has an article on the brave men in Pakistan's Bomb disposal unit.

Only this article, which quotes the men risking their lives, dares to mention they are doing it to protect their families but also inspired by their faith.

'We must protect our own lives along with the lives of others. Bravery is not about getting yourself killed' [Armed with Faith]
"Only those who want to serve their people will work for the bomb disposal unit. [The] Prophet Mohammad preached that when you save one person's life, you save all of humanity. What can be a bigger contribution than that?

One of the dirty little secrets of the 911 firemen/rescuers was that so many of them were Catholics. The BBC of course didn't notice because they don't recognize the nuances of NYC outside of the elite enclaves: but legendary street writer Jimmy Breslin did: Here is his classic essay about them from the Rolling Stone.

Inside the church, somebody was reading a eulogy. It tells you a lot about New York City that somebody named Mike Weinberg gets his send-off at Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church and nobody even notices, much less explains it. "He's a firefighter," somebody from the neighborhood says, if you inquire. Which meant he was part of a religion to begin with – firefighting – which is itself an affiliate of the Catholic Church. "His father's a German Jew," somebody said, "but his mother's name is Mary." In the kitchen and in religion, the woman is always trump.

Too often, the MSM ridicules people of faith, or slants stories to make evil men seem as if they represent people of faith

Often ordinary people don't spout religion: it is part of them, and like Breslin's comment that no body notices the person's faith because their friends and neighbors take it for granted , and the outsider reporters are alas too often clueless to the quiet but important part people's faith plays in their daily lives.

Mike Weinberg's father, Mort, was there, too. "I told my son, 'If you have to work, this is the best job in the world. You accomplish something. You get a chance to do the most beautiful thing in the world, save a life.' "

No comments: