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Dont compromise our heroes

From a Sunday, July 3 article printed in the NY Daily News by reporter Alan Katz:

'It took years of lobbying and partisan bickering, but the 9/11 Zadroga Act to help ailing Ground Zero responders finally took effect today.

The law provides $4.3 billion in guaranteed federal funding to cover health costs and financial compensation for emergency responders, recovery workers, volunteers, and residents who were affected by the attacks almost 10 years ago.'

In his article Katz quotes Carolyn Maloney. 'This is a historic milestone, not only for the more than 36,000 Americans who lost their health as a result of 9/11 and are in the program, but also for our moral obligation to care for those who rise to the defense of our nation in a time of war.'

Katz also goes on to explain that 'the original bill's price tag was scaled back from $7.4 billion as part of a compromise with conservatives in both parties, which allowed the legislation to pass through Congress and get President Obama's signature in early January.'

Katz then quotes New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the following statement: 'There's no way to think that we can ever fully repay the thousands of first responders who fearlessly charged into the towers as others rushed out...but we can give them the care they need and the care that they deserve.'

Katz informs us that the law was named for NYPD Detective James Zadroga, who died of 9/11-related illness and that the funding is set to expire in five years.

Now this bill being passed made headline news all over the United States. I chose this one simple article because I felt it summarized the events well, and used it to provide a brief history of what is currently being done for our heroes of 9/11.

I feel that the fact it took years to implement this legislation, and that there is an expiration date to this bill and to the health care now being provided for the heroes of 9/11, is wrong, but what is horribly wrong is what Katz did not mention as being part of the $7.4 billion compromise cutback - cancer is not covered under the 9/11 Zadroga Health Care Law.

The first responders of this country, our United States military (all branches), firefighters, paramedics, law enforcement officers, to mention only the obvious, are the only reason this country we live in is as safe and strong as it is. Without them, we would not have the protection, security nor the freedom we take for granted everyday. Can you imagine a life in this country without our first responders? I cannot.

While I realize our government has spent years doing its best to divide us with fear and propaganda, the one thing our government cannot ever do is take away our heroes.

Our first responders, no matter what our government does or does not do, will continue to do their job, regardless of pay or benefits because many, if not most, are volunteers who put their lives out there for us daily simply because for them, it's the right thing to do. It's what makes them our heroes.

Seemingly - and so sadly,despite our politicians statements to the contrary - our government officials seem to view our heroes as expendable.

I know I do not feel that way, and I am confident that the rest of American does not feel that way either, so please support our heroes by taking action now on their behalf.

We do have the power to make a difference, just like the men and women who save our lives and protect our freedoms do every day, by simply getting involved.

How?

There are many examples throughout history to help you decide which is best for you to do in order to get involved, but at a minimum please let your voices be heard!

The brave men and women of this great country deserve nothing less for making this country in fact great.

Please write your congressman and state representatives today. The men and women who risked their lives on 9/11 to save ours can't wait any longer for the health care they deserve.

It's time we Americans as a whole rush to the aide of our heroes.

- Marie Botchie, Rainier