The Fire Service has a longstanding tradition of not leaving its own behind. That is one of the reasons they do what they do, they put themselves in harm’s way because they know their brothers will do anything and everything to come get them when things go wrong. This is the same reason that many soldiers fight, the bond of the brotherhood and the knowledge that their brothers will lay down their lives to come save them.
There has also been a long standing tradition that the Service, the Department will take care of you. Firemen sign on the dotted line to risk their lives with the knowledge that if it all goes wrong, they will be taken care of………or at least their family will.
But today in the Fire Service there is a tremendous wrong being committed. Hundreds, if not thousands of brothers are being cast aside. These brothers have paid their dues. They have worked a career’s worth of fires. They also have spent thousands of hours searching for their brothers, upholding the traditions mentioned above, the tradition of leaving no brother behind, of bringing every one home.
Right now, as you read this, there are hundreds of FDNY Firemen with cancer. Many of these men have been diagnosed with cancers that are typically seen only once in thirty years. Yet mysteriously to some, more than 30 cases have been diagnosed since the recovery effort at Ground Zero. These brave men have gone through hell. They have survived the unthinkable, wondering if it would have been better if they had been one of the 343 that didn’t come home.
To add insult to injury, they have been forgotten by the one thing they have committed their souls too. Their cancers are not being considered job related. No one will admit that they are suffering from the stuff they were exposed to at Ground Zero.
Why you ask? Well maybe because Christy Todd Whitman said the air was OK. I mean after all, if the Government says that there was nothing bad in the air then it must be true. Maybe it is because no one wants to accept the responsibility and the cost associated with the hundreds, maybe thousands, of illnesses that have come about since 9-11. These brave men are the forgotten victims of September 11th, 2001. They are not gone yet, but forgotten just the same.
So when you are walking around the Firehouse Expo this week, look for the booth that is set up for the brothers fighting the good fight long after 9-11 has been forgotten by so many.
Stop by and see what you can do to help.