Brain and His Daughter Discuss What Happened AFTER 9/11
Saturday will mark 20 years since the attacks of September 11th, 2001. In marking that day, there are no shortage of documentaries out on the events of that day. Channels like National Geographic and Discovery have excellent programs that examine what happened and why. A new Netflix series looks not only at 9/11, but also at why it happened and the following war on terror. My daughter Carly has watched several of these programs with me, and it is stunning to see her reaction. After all, she wasn't even alive on 9/11.
At only 13 years old, the images that have been seared into our minds are fresh to her. Her fear is new. The sadness she felt as she realized not everyone would make it out of the towers was a real moment for her. Seeing people jump to their death to avoid burning was too much to watch. We also talked about the sacrifices that first responders like the New York City fire and police departments made that day. Hundreds of brave men and women running towards the towers as everyone else ran away. We talked about them being buried when the towers collapsed, most of them never seeing their families again.
I then tried to explain to her the after affects of 9/11 on the health of those people who did survive. All the people who breathed in the dust and debris, or who worked at the site for months. I didn't have specific numbers, but I told her many more people died of diseases like cancer. Cancer caused by what they were exposed to on 9/11 and the days that followed. Now, we do have the numbers and they are mind numbing.
Newsweek reports that the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund believes that more people have now died from 9/11 related illnesses, than were lost during the attacks that day. The VCF provides funding to those who survived, lost a family member, responded, removed debris, or were near the site on the day of the attacks. The fund has awarded nearly $9 billion to over 40,000 individuals. In 2021 alone, nearly 4,700 claims were filed by survivors and over 3,650 were filed by responders.
We all will never forget the 2,974 lives that were lost on 9/11. But the real tragedy is knowing that people continue to die because of the events of that day. The CDC reports that over 81,000 responders and over 30,000 survivors have enrolled in no cost medical treatment for people affected by the attacks, including residents from all 50 states.