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Ground Zero Chronicles: The week following September 11, 2023

September 11, 2023, has passed, and the memories resurfaced with their familiar emotional weight. As I tuned into the ceremony, an attempt to traverse the somber moments, I found myself once more grappling with the sensation of my world contracting within me—a familiar trigger compelling me to pause.

9/11 foundation
9/11 foundation hat given to me from the foundation

I began contemplating if others experienced similar sentiments, particularly those who had been physically present on that significant day. I extend an embrace to anyone who shares these feelings and invites their thoughts to connect and unravel the complex emotions that persist. We know we did what was right, yet we carry a sense of being diminished. The heartfelt sentiments from responders on that day did help mend the hollowness I felt within. Witnessing the youth reading the names of those they never met, yet embodying deep empathy, was both touching and inspiring. The families of the fallen, then and now, instilled a profound belief in the innocence of those lost, their lives tragically shortened. Witnessing these remarkable young souls wishing they had personally known the greatness of their loved ones was a testament to human compassion.

On that day, I composed a poem for this purpose and shared it with all. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and I'm pleased to share that the 9/11 museum invited me to feature it in their artistry program for all to behold. A gratifying moment, to say the least. My gratitude extends to all the dedicated individuals within the 9/11 organizations, tirelessly ensuring the event's continuation and orchestrating the necessary preparations. I also acknowledge the unsung heroes—those in forgotten towns and cities across the nation—organizing their own events, demonstrating unwavering dedication and heartfelt contributions.

9/11 memorial wall 2001 missing people

My aim is to extend the same appreciation to what I term the forgotten first responders—the volunteers and diligent workers who labored tirelessly, handling tasks ranging from drilling and welding to cleaning and debris removal. They are often overlooked or omitted from the media's portrayal of this day. While it's heartening to witness their acknowledgment, even 22 years later, it remains essential to shed light on their crucial role. This week, during a visit to the doctor to monitor my condition, I was disheartened to find no mention of the significance of this day, despite being a known first responder receiving insurance from the WTC Health Organization. It was a disturbing realization, especially when discussing the lasting health effects stemming from that tragic event.

In closing, I express my heartfelt gratitude for your continued interest in my blog and the ongoing stories I will share regarding my experiences at ground zero and my health journey after the 9/11 illness. Should you wish to share your own story or reflections from those days when you too stood on that hollow ground, please don't hesitate to reach out via email.

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