Five Years Waiting: The Un-built Bridge

On a beautiful September day in 2001, the veil of innocence was torn away from the eyes of our nation. We were introduced to a form of murderous barbarism that has been the norm for centuries in other parts of the world.

I want to suggest that the best possible monument to the victims of the 9/11 Tragedy would be a government program to cover the debilitating injuries suffered by both the uniformed forces and the civilian workers who labored at the site of this tragedy. Nothing less than a full coverage of these issues is acceptable. The families of the deceased were covered, what about the living?

I do not mean to diminish or demean anyone, but for God's sake, do not tell me it is too expensive. If we can makes scores of private corporations rich off of the current War on Terror, then we can spring a few bucks for the helpless victims of this tragedy who were just doing their jobs. They were just doing the right thing.

Why has it taken five years to come up with the current round of medical protocols which seem designed by lawyers more to save money than to take care of people? I will tell you. Let me be blunt and I sure as Hell hope you get mad. This has happened to us all because we have become a nation of ciphers to our government.

In the eyes of our politicians, we are no longer the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. We have become the Land of the Dollars and Cents. When they gather together in our town halls, state capitals, and the hallowed halls of our nations' capitol their sole purpose is to make a buck. Oh, there might be the occasional person who really cares about you and me, but that is getting to be a rare commodity, because on the whole, you and I cannot compete with the people with the big bucks.

Do I seem a bit cynical here? You bet your ass I am! And that is just what you bet each time you roll out on an emergency. You expect to be supported and cared for if something goes wrong. I once thought this way. After coming home injured a number of times, and being treated like a resource-swilling drain on society I began to think differently.

I can recall being treated for an injury in Newark after a skylight dropped in on the area where I was operating as sector commander. Our fire director actually came up to me in the hospital and bitched about the cost of the tests that had been given to me. Now there was a warm and fuzzy moment if ever there was one. Did he suppose that I had ordered the skylight to be dropped up us? Needless to say, my attitude toward the City of Newark shifted just a bit that night.

My friends, our government has the opportunity to create a true, living monument to the sacrifice of our honored dead on September 11, 2001. They can step up to the plate and create a true, all-encompassing support mechanism for each and every victim of 9/11.

They can get up off of their dead, pontificating butts and doing the right thing. It is time for them to build a bridge. That bridge must reach from place where the disease-riddled, struggling victims who were just doing their jobs live in a world of doubt, pain and uncertainty. That bridge should span the abyss of uncertainty and reach a place where their health and economic concerns receive the proper attention. We cannot make them whole, but we sure can stop busting chops over who is going to pay the bills.

I can recall a popular slogan of the 9/11 period. I believe it went something like, "All gave some and some gave all." My call this week is for someone in government to wake the hell up and start giving something to the some who gave some. Will they?

I shall be out on my front porch enjoying a nice cigar while I wait for the flight of pigs to pass over Adelphia. See if I am holding my breath the next time we meet.

May the souls of the dear departed rest forever in Heavenly Peace at the Right Hand of the Lord.