Remembering Workers Lost on 9/11
Unions offer tributes to their members that died in the attacks
On Saturday, we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. On that bright, sunny day 20 years ago nearly 3,000 people lost their lives.
Many were at work or on their way to work when the planes struck the towers, the Pentagon, and on United Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville PA. The union hit hardest by the 9/11 attack were the unions that represent the brave men and women of the FDNY. The department lost 343 members. In commemoration of the 20th anniversary the IAFF issued the following statement:
“Every year on September 11, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and its 324,000 members pause for somber reflection on that tragic day, now 20 years ago, that forever changed the world and the fire service. On the 20th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in American history, the IAFF has never forgotten the 343 FDNY members lost that dark day and will always remember the families of our fallen, including the 250 members who have succumbed to World Trade Center-related illnesses. The IAFF honors those lost amidst the most daring rescue operation in American history by seizing on every lesson learned and every opportunity to protect our members and improve emergency response. Over the last 20 years, the IAFF has been the driving force behind securing benefits for the families of the fallen, protecting the health of Ground Zero responders, expanding terror response training, fighting fire ground toxins and fully confronting behavioral health challenges. This union remains steadfast and determined to ensure our members are ready for the next shift, whatever that may bring. While the IAFF can take pride in this progress, this work can never pause. As the threats against the citizens we have sworn to protect change, the IAFF will meet these challenges head on.”
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) was also hard hit on 9/11, losing 21 members and lost numerous other members in the years after due to 9/11 related illnesses. International President Lonnie Stephenson said “20 years ago, today, the world stood still as the terrible attacks on the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon shook us all. On this solemn occasion, the men and women of IBEW remember all who lost their lives, including 21 of our own brothers. We lost 17 members of Local 3 and four from Local 1212 that morning, all working on the job at the World Trade Center. They brought honor to the trade and their union, and we cherish their memory. But out of the horror, a spirit of solidarity and common purpose emerged as working families stepped up to support the victims and rebuild New York City. I take great pride in the efforts of IBEW brothers and sisters who not only helped their neighbors in the days after Sept. 11 but worked to build back lower Manhattan. We will never forget what happened that day, and we will always cherish the memories of those we lost and the frontline workers who gave their all to keep us safe.”
To honor the police officers that died in 9/11 the New York City PBA recently unveiled the September 11th Memorial Wall. The memorial will be housed at the unions headquarters and will included the names and pictures of the 23 NYPD members killed on September 11th, 2001 and a tribute to the hundreds of police officers who have died of 9/11-related illness. The portrait series, entitled “23 Remembered,” was commissioned by Brothers Before Others, a non-profit organization that provides aid and comfort to the families of fallen police officers, and painted by Philadelphia Police Officer Jonny Castro, a forensic artist who has made it his personal mission to paint moving portraits of fallen police officers and military members killed in the line of duty.
When we talk about the 9/11 attacks the workers on the planes are often forgotten, yet the AFA-CWA, Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), and Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) were the first people to notify officials of the attack and were instrumental in bringing down Flight 93 in the woods of Pennsylvania. To commemorate these brave flight attendants and pilots the union has put together an honor guard that has been visiting each of the sites to lay a wreath in remembrance of their brothers and sisters that died on the planes.
“Aviation’s First Responders on Flights 11, 175, and 77 alerted our country & fellow crewmembers on Flight 93, who acted heroically and without reservation to save the Capitol and countless lives on the ground. We remember our Heroes and keep the promise to NeverForget” said the AFA as they participated in a ceremony honoring the crew of Flight 93, which was believed to be headed for either the White House or the US Capitol.
Ceremonies to honor these workers and those that perished in the attack will be held throughout the nation on Saturday. We will never forget.