anne_mikolay_120The House of Representatives rejected the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act which would have provided seven and a half billion dollars for health care coverage for first responders and recovery workers stricken with health issues as a result of their voluntary assistance on 9/11/01. Named for James Zadroga, an NYPD Detective who passed away in 2006 from respiratory disease related to his many hours of service at Ground Zero, the bill failed to obtain the 2/3 majority needed to pass.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg blamed the bill’s “outrageous” failure on both Republicans and Democrats. While Democrats pushed ahead with the bill under a procedure that requires a 2/3 approval rather than a simple majority, Republicans were reportedly concerned with the bill’s $10.5 Billion price tag.

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Shame on the House of Representatives! Failing to pass this important legislation is akin to turning their backs on needy American heroes, proving once more that politics rather than humanity is the name of the game.

9/11 was a nightmare! For some people, however, the nightmare continues. They can’t simply turn off their televisions when the footage of that tragic day replays; they can’t forget what happened by simply refusing to read the newspaper. 9/11 is with them everyday. These are the volunteers, the first responders, the fire-fighters, the police, who raced to Ground Zero to assist people they never even met, and stayed at Ground Zero long after the television cameras left. These are true American heroes!  These good-hearted individuals carry painful memories with them daily and some, sadly, have been stricken with disease, their lives altered forever. The government owes them respect, care, and consideration.

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Politicians, skip the patriotic speeches filled with empty platitudes. Save your breath. You’re flapping your gums for nothing. You obviously don’t appreciate the true meaning of heroism or the American spirit. Nobody has faith in politicians who can’t stand up for what is right. Humanity comes before the dollar, before the campaigns, before the political games. You are a fortunate group of people; you and your families are unscathed by 9/11. You failed to stand by the American heroes who, by a twist of Fate they did not ask for, can’t say the same.

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Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...