Comedian Jon Stewart at Capitol Hill stated, “Welcome. Welcome to another exciting episode of ‘When is America going to start acting like the great country we keep telling ourselves we are?’ You remember we were here a year ago after a 15-year battle to get Congress to recognize that the first responders on 9/11 were sick and dying and needed health care and disability. And John Feal and the Feal Good Foundation and all the first responders and survivors and victims came down to Washington over and over and over again, sick and dying, walking the halls of Congress just to get them to recognize the basic humanity of what they were dealing with, that their selflessness and heroism had put them in harm’s way and they’d been sick. And when it was done, we thought it was done.”
Jon Stewart introduced a new bill for veterans who are similarly ill to 9/11 responders.
Stewart continued, “But it turns out that the warfighters that were sent to prosecute the battle, based on the attack on 9/11, now suffer the same injuries and illnesses that the first responders suffered from and they’re getting the same cold shoulder from Congress that they received. And so the fight starts again.”
Family and victims spoke out after military documents were declassified and revealed soldiers were exposed to hundreds of known toxic and radioactive hazards.
A veteran exposed to the toxins said, “That day finally broke me. Many K2 Veterans have been told that it’s all in our head. These are warriors. Good, hardworking soldiers of all ranks from every background. This summer, Congress was forced to declassify military documents, many, with many environmental surveys over the last four years, finding hundreds of known, tested, and documented toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and radioactive material. We finally had proof almost 20 years after the first boots hit ground.”
Danielle Robinson shared, “I am now a 35-year-old widow thanks to our top military officials deciding not to properly dispose of trash in Iraq due to inconvenience and expense. The late Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson, an Army medic who enlisted because of 9/11, was exposed to toxic burn pits during guard duty he did while serving as a medic in the Ohio National Guard, and he had to stand 15 yards from a burn pit daily for about three months of his deployment at the Camp Liberty, Camp Victory complex. After returning home, the battle for his life began 10 years later. The oncologist we saw was astonished and said, ‘What the hell have you been exposed to?’ This rare form of lung cancer and rare mucous membranes pemphigoid disease is only due to toxic exposure. He passed this year, May of 2020.”
9/11 activist John Feal said, “This is embarrassing. So we come here today. For fifteen years, this man took an issue that was in the shadows and put sunlight on it. Now we’re asking him again to take an issue that’s been in the shadows and put sunlight on it, to let the American people know that good ordinary people who do extraordinary things to keep us safe 24/7 are sick and dying.”
Feal continued, “What have we become when we stop the legislative process and we tweet all day? When nothing gets done anymore. This is embarrassing. Oh, we’re the greatest country in the world. I’m shocked. I’m appalled and I’m repulsed by what I’m listening to right now behind me. These men and women deserve better. The 9/11 community deserved better. The American people, I get it. We’re all going through a lot right now. Pandemic, social uprising, election. But when do we stop caring about life, about human beings? If you’re alright with that, then we’re not friends. Thank you.”
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