A decade has passed since the attacks that brought horrific destruction and death to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the fields outside Shanksville, Pa. Those acts of terrorism ripped apart steel and concrete and broke our hearts. The families that lost loved ones may never be whole again.
Father Mychal F. Judge, a New York Fire Department chaplain and member of AFSCME Local 299 (District Council 37), was among the first to arrive at the scene in New York. Father Judge did not hesitate when he heard of the attacks. He put on his collar and went to be of help. He died giving the Last Rites of the Roman Catholic Church to a mortally wounded firefighter. He is known today as “the Saint of 9/11.”
Father Judge was not alone. Paramedics Carlos Lillo and Ricardo Quinn, both AFSCME DC 37 members, braved the horrors in Lower Manhattan to support rescue efforts. They too gave their lives, as did Chet Louie, an AFSCME member who worked a second job at the World Trade Center, and five members of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA)/AFSCME Local 1000 – Yvette Anderson, Florence Cohen, Harry Goody, Marian Hrycak and Dorothy Temple – who worked for the state Department of Taxation and Finance in the South Tower.
Ten years later, one is still moved by the memory of the many public employees who put their lives in danger. Police officers, firefighters, EMTs and other first responders rushed into the twin towers to rescue the injured. Emergency personnel created caravans to help dig through the rubble. Engineers worked up to 36-hour shifts trying to find survivors. Sanitation workers, child care providers and hundreds of other public employees delivered lunches, supplies and volunteered to do whatever was necessary. Similar acts of courage and service were seen at each of the attack sites. Read the rest of this entry →