Americans who witnessed the horrors of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon cannot forget the images of the planes hitting the Twin Towers and our military’s home, and of the devastation that followed.
Twenty years later, we at the New Jersey State AFL-CIO also remember the vivid images from the days and months afterward: Firefighters raising the American flag, Iwo Jima-style, over the rubble in New York City. Police and EMS and doctors and nurses digging through debris in New York and Washington with their bare hands. Workers in hard hats putting their own lives and safety on the line to hunt for survivors and then to unearth the remains of the nearly 3,000 victims overall, in a valiant effort to give closure to their grieving families.
We remember our union brothers and sisters who ran toward danger, who worked at Ground Zero beyond the point of exhaustion, who breathed toxic air during the cleanup, and who all the while proudly displayed their union values of solidarity, loyalty, commitment to excellence and their heartfelt belief in America.
Union men and women helped heal the scars of 9/11 and they built the new tower that again says the sky is the limit in America.
Twenty years later, we at the New Jersey State AFL-CIO still mourn the innocent victims of terrorists, especially our union brothers and sisters who died on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and those who died in the years afterward because of 9/11-related illnesses.
We are grateful for our heroes who showed us then and who still show us every day that the American spirit cannot be defeated.