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Engel Statement Marking 19 Years Since the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Engel Statement Marking 19 Years Since the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Congressman Eliot Engel issued the following statement:

“Today is always one of the toughest days we as New Yorkers must endure. Today, we honor the memories of those lost on September 11th, 2001 and pay tribute to the heroes of that fateful day.

“I can still vividly recall how painful things were on this day 19 years ago, and how remarkable it was to see so many men and women come together in the hours, days and months after the attack to help our city get back on its feet. The heroism of our first-responders in that time was unmatched, and the sacrifices they made were unfathomable. Tragically, many paid the ultimate price for their efforts, and thousands more continue to suffer from 9/11 related illnesses. It’s been nearly two decades since the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and it took nearly that long for Congress to finally, FINALLY pass a permanent health care program and victim compensation fund for our 9/11 heroes, survivors, and their families. I remember seeing the relief on the faces of these brave souls after we pushed the final reauthorization through; their long and painful battle with their own government was finally over.

“It never should have taken Congress so long to keep its promise to those families. And the resistance we encountered from some of our out of state Congressional colleagues as we fought to permanently reauthorize those programs never should have occurred. Those of us privileged to serve in the United States House of Representatives have a sacred duty, I believe, to help people. Help them with their health care, help them make ends meet, help them live healthier, happier lives. Unfortunately, far too many who also serve in this body seem to have forgotten why we’re here, or never even subscribed to that view. 9/11 was a national crisis, but we’ve faced other crises before, and find ourselves in the midst of another one right now. In the past we’ve been able to mobilize as one nation to deal with these massive threats. Today, we’re forced to fight tooth and nail to accomplish even our most basic functions, like caring for folks who got sick digging through the rubble to help their fellow Americans.

"So, let that be the lesson on this 19th Anniversary of 9/11: that empathy and care for our fellow man shouldn't require coercion or constant struggle. When people are suffering, to any degree, our government should stand ready and able to assist with a helping hand. The heroes of 9/11 left us the blueprint: do what you can to help, put others before yourselves. More of our leaders should remember the example they set for us 19 years ago today.”