As nation marks 9/11, concerns for health of surviving firefighters

9/11 Anniversary

(NewsNation) — Sunday marked 21 years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband attended a commemoration ceremony at the National September 11th Memorial in New York, where firefighter deaths from 9/11-related illnesses may have already surpassed the number of firefighters killed when the twin towers actually fell.

But as the anniversary of that historically tragic day draws near, the program set up to care for those first responders — called the Zadroga Act — is, again, in need of funding.

“We lost 30 members in the last year — the number is over 300 post-9/11 deaths,” FDNY-Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro said while standing next to the World Trade Center site Friday.

“In the last week of the summer, we had a funeral every single day of the week for members that had passed from 9/11-related cancers.”

Now, the rest that are left in Ansbro’s association are in danger of losing their free health care from the World Trade Center Health program, which monitors and treats health conditions related to 9/11, as funding for the program is depleting.

So they’re calling on Congress to act.

“Funding for the Zadroga Act is going to run out in 2025 — they’re going to start reducing the benefits as we get closer to that date,” said Lt. James McCarthy of the FDNY Uniformed Fire Officers Association Friday.

In an effort to keep pressure on the White House, members of the organizations say they’re going to monitor which politicians show up for the 9/11 memorial.

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