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The 9/11 cross, the man who found it...

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Message Robert Raitz

...and the country that denies him health insurance.
By Pappy McFae

While for the most part, I avoided the orgy of "patriotism" that I knew would come today, mostly because I was really busy at the Frank Crowley Courts building near downtown Dallas, I knew that I would be unable to avoid said orgy completely. This is because I knew that Countdown with Keith Olbermann would be doing something about 9/11, and I don't miss that show for anything. Not only did they do something about 9/11, they did it from Ground Zero (GZ). They also covered the General Patraeus lie-fest and ass frying. There was much to consider while watching the show.

The portion of the show that really got to me was the story of the construction worker who worked at GZ. This man, Frank Silecchia, was the man who found the steel beams that were in the shape of a cross. He worked for days on end at GZ, without a face mask, initially. Instead, he used a wet bandanna. This resulted In serious health problems for Mr. Silecchia. He didn't use a mask because no one could seemingly find it within themselves to acquire them early on.

Approximately four hundred thousand people were exposed to the mess that was GZ. Some were people who lived in the area. Forty thousand were people who worked in the rubble of the World Trade Center. Out of twenty-one thousand of the workers, the sixty-nine percent that were monitored wound up with breathing problems. On the other hand, approximately 3,000 children received full health monitoring. Over fifty percent of them came up with breathing problems. Somehow, I get the feeling that those kids weren't out there picking through the rubble that used to be the twin towers. One can only surmise the actual percentage of people like Mr. Silecchia who also have breathing problems, or other serious health problems who aren't having their health monitored.

It was obvious by listening to Mr. Silecchia that his breathing was labored. It was also very obvious that he didn't care about what would happen to his health when he decided to help at GZ. Like the true patriot he and the other workers were, his health and any other considerations were secondary to finding victims, and later bodies and/or body parts. While there might be those who would say that he knew the risks, and accepted them, I say that's a callous way to think about the sacrifice he and others like him made.

I find it reprehensible that politicians like DUBYA and Rudy, who have profited greatly, politically speaking from 9/11 seem to care nothing about the human cost. In the words of Mr. Silecchia, "they forgot the human quality."

"They forgot the human quality." Right you are, Mr. Silecchia. And isn't it a sad commentary on both DUBYA and Rudy that they could be so callous as to not consider the cost of life that came along with their political bargaining chip? Not only don't they consider the lives lost to give them a political drum to bang, our country can't seem to find it within our huge war budget to help the REAL HEROES of 9/11/2001, at least up to now.

On the bright side, according to Mr. Olbermann, there has been legislation introduced to help the real heroes of 9/11. I say it's about freaking time, don't you think...congress...DUBYA...America?

I can only wonder what kind of shenanigans will be pulled to try to deny help to these heroes. Perhaps that's a rather dim view of the situation, but what other view can I take? I am NOT the one that turned congress into a bunch of cowards. I am NOT the one that told DUBYA to ignore the briefing "Bin Laden determined to strike in America. If they couldn't help but allow 9/11 to happen, what makes anyone think they'd really help those who put their lives on the line for their fellow man.

I think the thing that struck me the most about Mr. Silecchia was the fact that he was a lot more accepting of his fate, and the criminal fiends who have profited from his misery than I would have been if I were in his situation. I was very impressed by his fortitude. I was impressed by his humanity. I was impressed that he thought more of those people trapped in the rubble than he did his own health. If there is a definition of heroism, then I get the feeling that Mr. Silecchia's picture is there next to it.

9/11 was a tragedy. There can be no denying that truth. Whether it was a bunch of whacked out Saudis with death wishes, an inside job, or a bit of both, the effect it had on America is undeniable. What also cannot be denied is the huge political profit that DUBYA has made from it. He used it to sell a war, win an election, and brand anyone who didn't fall in lockstep behind him a coward, anti-American, or an Al Quaeda collaborator, if only mentally.

DUBYA continues to use the pain of that fateful day to sell a war against a country that wasn't involved. All the while, he continues to be buddy-buddy with "Bondar Bush", Saudi prince and long-time family friend of the Bushes. And, even though there are reports that certain Saudis are providing financial and moral support for Al Quaeda yet again, somehow the US remains a staunch ally of Saudi Arabia. The fact that they have so much money invested in our economy might have something to do with our willing ass-kissing where the Saudis are concerned. Could it have been the Saudis knew they were going to make money from 9/11, and from all the fallout thereafter? Could it be they were playing both sides against the middle? Who knows?

What I do know is that Mr. Silecchia's story filled me with both sorrow and happiness. It was hard to be really angry when you saw how upbeat Mr. Silecchia was over all. I don't know that I could have been that ok with being used as a pawn in a political power play even as my health continued to deteriorate. I don't know that I could have been that accepting of my fate. I don't know that I wouldn't have taken my fifteen minutes of fame, and fashioned it into a weapon to beat both DUBYA and Rudy over the head. He didn't do that, and in a way, I am glad that he didn't.

For those who missed it, you can see a web cast of this particular bit at this URL. Click on the link that says "The legacy of 9/11 dust clouds." I think that you will feel like I did about Mr. Silecchia. Goddess bless you, sir.

Blessed be!

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Harpist, unemployed blue collar worker, and Bush basher living deep in the heart of Texas.
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