The Aftermath

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We invite you to take a moment to read the words of Lt Charles Corr. In remembering the events of September 11th, the media and our peers often draw us back to the day itself. However, Lt Corr sheds light on a little known reality of the pain that continues to affect the Americans who worked at Ground Zero.

Good Morning, I thank you all for coming to this, the 15th anniversary of 9/11 Memorial.  My name is Charles Corr and I am a very proud 34 year police veteran.  I had the honor and privilege of speaking at the 10th 9/11 Memorial on September 11, 2011 here at NC State.  At that time, I spoke of responding to the World Trade Center as the attacks were occurring and the heroics that I observed, by so many, that day.  While thinking of what words to say today, I was brought to the recent passing of a friend from a 9/11 related illness.  I also thought of a recent trip to Normandy, France.  There, I took a tour of the beaches and learned more about D-Day.  I also learned about the heroics in the days following D-Day.  Those days are known as D-Day + 1, D-Day +2. With that in mind, I would like to talk to you about 9/11 +1 and 9/11 +2.

Immediately following the attacks, 1000’s of law enforcement, fire fighters and civilians descended upon the World Trade Center in hopes of a successful rescue mission.  Soon those hopes were dashed and it became evident that a recovery mission was underway.  These men and women worked tirelessly, around the clock for 8 months.  During that time, they meticulously searched through what became known as "the pile" in hopes of recovering any remains of loved ones lost.  Unbeknownst to all, they were working in a highly toxic environment.  When the mission was over in May of 2002, many tried to move on with their lives.  For some, that lingering cough persisted, others the difficulty in breathing continued.   In the coming years, the death toll from 9/11 increased.  On September 11, 2001, 343 firefighters perished.  Since then, 144 have fallen from 9/11 related illnesses.  On September 11, 2001, 71 law enforcement officers were killed.  Since then, over 110 have died.  Over 20,000 men and women, rescue workers, heroes, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters have been treated for 9/11 related illnesses. 

For them, September 11, 2001 never ends.

I would like to share a few stories of these heroes.  Sgt. Claire Hanrahan served 20 years with the NYPD.  Her tour of duty began in 1987 and sadly ended on August 28, 2007.  Claire worked hundreds of hours at the WTC and died from illnesses after inhaling toxic chemicals and materials.  Claire was a friend, a loving wife and a mother of 3 children.

Sgt. Raymond McGowan was a high school friend and a co-worker in the 25th Pct.  Ray served the city of New York for 32 years.  Days before his death, he was unable to attend his daughter’s wedding.  Prior to leaving for the wedding, she visited with her father.  He briefly regained consciousness.  Upon seeing her, Ray’s last words were, “get me my tuxedo.”  He then slipped back into a coma and succumbed to a 9/11 related illness on August 10, 2016.

New York City Firefighter, William Woodlon, the latest victim of September 11, 2001, passed on August 31, 2016.  He served with the NYFD for 20 years.  He was known as a “fireman’s fireman” in the firehouse and the king of 118th St. in Harlem where he resided.  He was eulogized by Jamie Foxx, whom he had met on a movie set a few years prior. 

Today and tomorrow, September 11, 2016 we rightfully remember the 15th anniversary of that terrible day. Let us not forget those who tomorrow September 11, 2001 plus 5,475 days are still fighting a battle, a battle for their lives.  For many of us, September 11 never ever ends. 

- Lt Charles Corr, NYPD First Responder, Wake Tech Community College Administrative Lieutenant