US Congress Members Honor 9/11 First Responders

US Congress Members Honor 9/11 First Responders
The U.S. Capitol building is pictured in Washington, on July 29, 2011. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
Masooma Haq

While Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) honored first responders with a moment of silence ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building where members of the House gathered at 9 a.m. Friday, other lawmakers made public statements remembering the sacrifice that Emergency Medical Technicians, paramedics, firefighters, and police made on 9/11.

“Today, and every September 11, we come together as a nation to remember the fallen and gain inspiration from the resilience and patriotism that Americans showed at one of our darkest hours,” Pelosi said in a written statement Friday. “On the morning of September 11, 2001, our nation witnessed an unfathomable act of terror that killed 3,000 precious souls, shattered countless lives, and stole the innocence and sense of security of a generation.”

It has been Nineteen years since the day terrorist plotted and carried an attack which took down New York’s Twin Towers, when the Pentagon was hit and when Flight 93 was forced down in a field in Pennsylvania, possibly foiling the terrorists’ plan and saving lives.

“Yet, due to the extraordinary heroism of our firefighters, police officers and first responders who rushed into danger, September 11 does not belong to fear, but rather to courage, patriotism, and compassion,” Pelosi added.

First responders were exposed to a whole host of toxins at the ground zero sites in New York City, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) established the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program, which later evolved into the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), which revived and strengthened the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), all in an effort to get first responders compensation for their efforts.

“As we mark another year gone since September 11, 2001, we remember all those who lost their lives to hatred—those who perished that fateful day & the survivors & first responders who became sick from the toxins at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and the Shanksville crash site,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney said in a tweet early Friday.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also had a message to honor those lives lost on 9/11, along with the brave firefighters and police.

“Once a yr. on 9/11 media runs pictures from that day of destruction It’s a horrible thing to think about those deaths but also gives us the opportunity to remember the sacrifice of all the first responders + their families & all the 3k who died from that horrible terrorist attack,” Chuck Grassley.

In 2010 Grassley cosponsored legislation to keep the 9/11 terrorist from being tried in civilian courts on U.S. soil, instead of in a military tribunal, and prohibited the use of federal funds for civilian trials of the 9/11 terrorists.

In support of the bill, Grassley said, “Congress set up Military Commissions exactly for these very circumstances. By trying known terrorists in civilian courts, we’re giving them more Constitutional rights than our own military men and women who might be court marshaled. It’s not fair to the men and women who are in harm’s way to protect America. It’s just ludicrous.”
Meanwhile, Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) highlighted the 9/11 National Memorial Trail resolution which commemorates the historical significance of the September 11th National Memorial Trail, a 1,300-mile network of roads and paths that connect significant 9/11 memorial sites.

Warner wrote, “While we can never repay the sacrifices of our first responders or their families, the 9/11 National Memorial Trail, which was unanimously passed in the Senate, provides an opportunity for every American to remember the courageous individuals who sacrificed so much that day.”

Legislation securing full benefits for first responders and their families by fully funding the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund until 2090 was signed into law by President Donald Trump in July 2019.

The bipartisan bill was passed in the Senate with a vote of 97-2, earlier in July. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who supported the passage of the bill, sent a tweet Friday honoring the first responders.

“Nineteen years ago, thousands of Americans were murdered by terrorists. National landmarks burned. Brave first responders put their lives on the line to save strangers. May we never fail to honor them. And may we never tire of our pledge: Never Again,” wrote McConnell.
Masooma Haq began reporting for The Epoch Times from Pakistan in 2008. She currently covers a variety of topics including U.S. government, culture, and entertainment.