Menhir for the Men and Women Who Came Here
A Stele for Survivors Honors Those Who Came Back, and Those Who Chose to Settle Downtown After the Dust Settled
On Thursday morning, the World Trade Center complex unveiled a new monument: the Memorial Glade, which honors people whose health (or whose lives) were taken from them not on September 11, 2001, but in the years that followed, because they were exposed to toxins in the aftermath of the Twin Towers’ collapse.
Located at the southwest corner of the site (near the intersection of Liberty and West Streets) the Memorial Glade consists of a serpentine path that winds between half a dozen stone monoliths (ranging in mass from 13 to 18 tons), which are inlaid with remnants of World Trade Center steel. The slab’s rough edges and large size are intended to acknowledge the challenges faced by those whom the Glade honors.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking at the dedication ceremony, made a point of mentioning, “people with homes and workplaces and the surrounding area, who would not allow terrorists to force them to abandon their communities. It includes students at local schools, children and teenagers who are evacuated from classrooms during the attacks.”
“Many helped lead the fight to make sure that the federal government would care for everyone whose health was affected because of the attacks,” he continued, “even as they fought for their own lives. They truly are heroes. I was lucky to work alongside them as mayor and we have lost too many of them. Today, we are dedicating this Memorial Glade to all who became sick or died because of causes related to the attacks.”
“Those who live in the neighborhood and those who commute to it — the Glade tells their story,” he added. “And it is a story that, like the 9/11 Memorial, continues to evolve. It must, because the effects of 9/11 still being felt and being discovered. We have a duty to care for those who need it. And to honor those the memory of those who died.”
It is widely believed by healthcare professionals who study illnesses related to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, that the death toll from such conditions will soon surpass the grim tally of more than 2,900 who died on that day.
“Almost every day another 9/11 survivor or responder dies from a 9/11-related cancer,” U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand observed earlier this year, arguing for legislation that would renew and extend the Victims Compensation Fund, which provides financial assistance to people made ill by their contact with dangerous contaminants. More than 45,000 people are now suffering from at least one chronic health condition related to such exposure, and more than 10,000 have been certified with a cancer arising from September 11, 2001.
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