Great speech last night at the Democratic National Convention by 9/11 First Responder – NYPD Detective Joe Sweeney!

In direct and heartfelt words, Detective Sweeney told a national audience how he felt about then Senator Clinton’s unwavering support for the health of 9/11 first responders and other victims.   Regardless of whether you are a Democrat or a Republican and who you might vote for in November, Joe spoke as an American first.  He stood there as a shining example of the many humble and selfless law enforcement officers who protect us across this country every day.  Way to go Joe!

In addition to Detective Sweeney, 9/11 victim Lauren Manning – who was severely burned over 80% of her body- spoke about the impact of that horrible day. Congressman Joe Crowley of Queens, New York spoke about the passage of the 9/11 Zadroga Act establishing the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP).

Detective Sweeney was an NYPD officer and detective for over 21 years serving his city and his country.  Both his proudest and saddest day on the job was 9/11/2001 when he was called to work in the smoke and the ash and search first for survivors – then for remains. He spoke of all the first responders – including firefighters, construction workers, utility workers, emergency workers and volunteers – who came together to help in yet another world crisis (caused by “radical Islamic terrorism”Yes – I have no problem saying those words!)

Joe correctly pointed out that it was our own federal government that told the first responders recklessly that the air around Ground Zero was safe to breath.  Unfortunately, we now have the continued health consequences and premature deaths of first responders to prove how wrong the government was.  As we all know now,  the air around the WTC crash site was a “smoldering toxic soup” like never seen before or since, and our first responders are now paying the price. 

In the dangerous world in which we now live, it is nice to see that our brave first responders not only get the national recognition they deserve – but the compensation and health benefits they deserve.