muckraker report
“What I saw on 9/11 totally flew in the face....
Sun Mar 25, 2007 14:12

9/11 Widows Keep on Asking the Tough Questions

“What I saw on 9/11 totally flew in the face of everything I thought this country was about,” says Casazza. “For the people standing crowded and on their own in the opening of the broken windows of the towers, there were no police, Coast Guard, or military helicopters. They could have at least been thrown parachutes so that they could have attempted their own rescue. In ’93, there were rooftop evacuations, why were the doors to the rooftop locked in 2001? With all the warnings of terrorism the government had received, why no alerts that day, no jets scrambled? Bear in mind, the building was a known target. There should have been some evacuation preparation. When guys go to war, no one gets left behind. Those people got left behind. And we need to understand why.”

I asked the women what their plans are for the future, if they are seeking another investigation.

“Not if it was anything like the last one,” says Kleinberg. “We’d be for congressional hearings, but only if they were held like a trial, with real legal authority exercised. We hope the 110th Congress sees fit to do so. We’re not giving up.”

“My hope is that September 11,” says Gabrielle “might force more Americans to realize they have to pay attention, participate in civic affairs, and hold their government accountable. It doesn’t matter who is in power, whether it’s the Democrats or the Republicans, you really need to hold their feet to the fire. People can be so complacent. We were guilty of it too, before our husbands died. But that’s a mistake we can never afford to make again.”

“It’s absolutely exhausting, what we’ve been through,” says Casazza. “We had to go down to Washington to try and make our country safer, at a time when no one in our country felt safe, especially in D.C. We entered into this world few ordinary Americans ever see, and it’s nothing like they teach you in civics class. It astonished me that we had to take our binders full of empirical evidence and educate and convince so many in Congress that there were actually procedures broken on 9/11, only to have them stare blankly back at us and deny the need to support legislation authorizing a full investigation into what had happened. The lack of urgency we witnessed from the White House on down defied every expectation we had of the way things worked in Washington. I never would have imagined that we’d have to push so hard during the worst time of our lives for something that was so obviously needed. I only wish that people would take it upon themselves to go to Washington, instead of just writing about what ought to be done by others. We’ll go back, if we have to, because we know it’s the right thing to do. We’re not going away.”

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