I spent a good part of the early afternoon today at the World Trade Center site, along with a couple hundred victims' family members, as there was a rally there to bring attention to continuing tragedy of the findings of more and more human remains at Ground Zero. I felt I should be there to give them my support.
There were politicians there (three members of Congress), as well as dozens of media outlets. (A couple of photographers took my picture with a photo of my late friend Joyce that I had with me.) One speaker there brought along a statement from both New York senators, Clinton and Schumer, issuing their support for the family members' cause. There were reps from the police, fire department, and other first responders groups as well.
(There was also one strange guy there, who during lulls in the speeches, was trying to get everyone's attention with a sign about something regarding Al-Qaeda and the CIA. He kept circling the rally, trying to get the media's attention, but they just ignored him. Unfortunately over the years, Ground Zero has become a magnet for kooks.)
To put it simply, the Families are seeking to have the JPAC, or The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Recovery military unit, come to Ground Zero to sift through all the areas of the site, especially in the places where remains were recently found. The JPAC is the group that looks for and identifies missing soldiers, and has done that since WWI. Mayor Bloomberg does not want to bring them in, as he feels that the city can do the job. But let's face it, after five years, they clearly have not. It really comes down to a matter of control, and ego, of course.
Five years have gone by, and we are still having to go down to the site of the worst tragedy in American history to voice our concerns. Hearing that remains that have been untouched for five years have just been found opens up old wounds for everyone who suffered a tragic loss on September 11. The city claimed that as far back as November 2001 that anything that could be found was already recovered at Ground Zero. They've done a lousy job, and that's no reflection on those brave and heroic people who risked their lives down at "The Pile," and they did their absolute best to find as many of the victims as they could. (And so many of those people are really paying the price, as they are getting sick from all their time down there.)
The family groups have thousands of supporters, and will not give up in their fight with Bloomberg. Those families deserve this, and it won't cost the city any additional money. It is just simply the right thing to do, to insure that we don't go through opening up more newspapers to discover that the remains of more victims keep turning up.
The JPAC will not of course, bring back any of the victims, put it will bring some small amount of solace to the relatives of the lost that all is being done to recover the victims of 9/11.
The city made promises, and those promises were broken. Any trust the families may have had in them has been irrevocably broken. It's now time to bring in an independent agency like the JPAC to finish what the city couldn't.
I was proud to stand with the Families today, and they will forever have my support.