Groundbreaking Set for 9/11 Responder Remembrance Park in Nesconset, New York

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held this Sunday in Nesconset, Long Island for the 9/11 Responder Remembrance Park. The park will be dedicated to first responders whose health was ruined because of their work at Ground Zero following the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

In the years following the attacks, many responders have developed cancers, respiratory ailments and other illnesses due to their exposure to the toxic dust that enveloped Ground Zero. At this time, there are nearly 60,000 people enrolled in health-monitoring and treatment programs related to the 9/11 attack. Tragically, many sickened <"">Ground Zero responders have died as a result of their illnesses.

According to the Times of Smithtown, the 9/11 Responder Remembrance Park will contain landscaped pathways for public use, and a granite wall engraved with the names of first responders. Names will be added each year. The park will also have quiet areas where people can reflect and relax and a clock that will chime in remembrance of those lost.

Those remembered on the wall do not have to be from Long Island or even from New York, as many first responders were from other states. Anyone can submit a name request for the wall free of charge by visiting Donations are also being taken by the web site.

The group behind the park is still trying to raise the $100,000 to cover its costs. The committee has already raised $35,000. In addition to the groundbreaking, a fundraising event will be held on Sunday that will include a 5K run prior to the ceremony, as well as a barbecue and other festivities at Gibbs Pond Park afterwards. The minimum donation for the day is $9.11.

Nearly 10 years after the World Trade Center Attacks, it’s hard to believe that so many first responders are still suffering. “These people had a severe and complex exposure on 9/11, from debris and dust, and a lot of plastic and toxins in the air,” Benjamin Luft, M.D, director of the Long Island World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program. Luft said 5,000 people are patients in the program’s three clinics (one in Suffolk and two in Nassau County), and even now, responders are still being diagnosed with ailments related to the toxic dust at Ground Zero.

The sacrifices of these heroes made the recent fight for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act so important. The Zadroga Act, which finally passed Congress late last year, designates $4.3 billion to provide health care, monitoring and compensation to responders and volunteers sickened by toxic dust at Ground Zero in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Among other things, the Zadroga Act caps lawyers’ fees at 10 percent. Eligible Ground Zero responders should be able to begin filing Zadroga Act claims this summer.

Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, a national law firm dedicated to protecting victim’s rights, was among the 9/11 responder advocates that worked hard to make sure the Zadroga Act became law. The firm is still offering free legal consultations to Ground Zero workers or their survivors who wish to file Zadroga Act claims.

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