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Fighting to keep recently won Zadroga Act Funds: How could America forget so soon their sacrifice

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Cory Clark
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9/11 workers
9/11 workers
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9/11 workers by Cory V. Clark

New York, NY -- September 24, 2012   It took nine years, numerous battles with congress, and one of America's finest to die of a respiratory disease attributed to his participation in the 9/11 recovery effort, for first responders and volunteers to get the health care and other benefits they needed.

Now just two years later they are trying to cut the money to those who need it the most while adding the number of conditions that qualify 9/11 workers for benefits.

First Responders and other 9/11 workers staged a protest in front of the construction site for the New world Trade Centers, in the location where these heroes rallied every day before and after going into the hot zone.

The contingent was there to protest President Obama's bipartisan sequestration bill that if enacted would eliminate $38 million from the Zadroga Act by 2013 and close to 300 million overall.  
what American's Seem to care about by Cory V. Clark

The small group of about a dozen protesters arrived at the church Street site of the protest at 5 am. with their numbers fluctuating throughout the morning, until they packed their banners just before noon.

The group was joined at various points by individuals from the Occupy movement who stepped in for a few moments here and there to show support, but remained low key out of respect.

"This is their thing, we want to show our support, but this is their baby," said one Occupier.

OccuSupport by Cory V. Clark

Many of the passersby heading to the 9/11 memorial didn't even give a cursory glance at the workers fighting for their healthcare and other benefits, earned each and every time they entered the rescue zone.

"People don't care about anything that doesn't directly affect them after 9/11, it's all about me, me, me; who's going to win the next American Idol, or Jersey Shore, they're too busy looking up and they miss everything that's important happening all around them," Said Kirk Arsenault National President of Hard Hat Heroes Motorcycle club.

Instead they looked up at the skyline or down at their iPods and iPhones occasionally stopping to move close to the railing over the signs crying out for the workers not to be used as political pawns in the false Left/Right game of election chess, only to take a few petty photographs of the construction and skyline.

"People said never forget after 9/11 in much the same way Jewish Holocaust survivors said the same thing; the difference is, while even the grand and great grandchildren of those survivors have refuse to forget, the American people have already long forgotten only 12 years later, it's just a show they put on now without any real passion," said Danielle Finger, 23 from Philadelphia.

However, despite the lack of a strong showing and lack of any real response other than empty headed stares beyond them by the zombie public, this group of heroes vowed to keep up their fight against the proposed cuts in Zagroda Act funds.

"This is just the beginning, Said John Devlin, New York President of Hard Hat Heroes MC, "We'll be heading to Washington, DC very soon, how soon depends on whether we get Union support but even if we have to go on our own we will, we will not give up this fight, too many people are depending on these funds for medical bills and their livelihoods."


Leave Zadroga Act Alone by Cory V. Clark

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Cory Clark is a freelance photojournalist and writer focused on civil and human rights issues, social justice and politics. He is a regular contributor with Getty Images, AP and AFP. His work has appeared in, The Guardian, Fortune (more...)

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