9/11 first responders head to Washington rally BY CARL MACGOWAN.carl.macgowan@newsday.com February 26, 2008





9/11 first responders head to Washington rally

BY CARL MACGOWAN.carl.macgowan@newsday.com
February 26, 2008

Mike McCormack, of Ridge, was part of a search team that found a battered American flag at the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The flag had flown over the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and on a U.S. Navy ship during the war in Afghanistan.

But McCormack, 49, says he is getting the cold shoulder from the Bush administration, which has proposed what the group says is a severe cut in health care for 9/11 first responders.

He is one of more than 200 first responders who plan to hold a rally today on the west lawn of the Capitol building to call for a restoration of the funding. They then plan to meet with lawmakers.

"Handing out money to everyone and not taking care of your own - there's something wrong with that," said McCormack, a major in the Air Force Auxiliary. "It's just vicious."

Three busloads of people from the metropolitan area rode to Washington, D.C., yesterday for the rally organized by the Long Island-based FealGood Foundation.

Passengers said they have maladies that include leukemia, respiratory problems, heart ailments and memory loss.

As one bus left Melville about 30 people relaxed while watching movies on overhead video screens. But they turned angry when they described the illnesses they attribute to their work at the World Trade Center site and at a temporary morgue at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island.

John McNamara, 42, of Blue Point, said he suffers from colon cancer caused by the toxic dust he inhaled at the World Trade Center.

"President Bush came down, patted us on the back and said, 'Anything we needed,'" said McNamara, who is on medical leave from the Fire Department of New York. "Now he's taking it away from us. ... What kind of a joke is that?"

They fear it will be more difficult for first responders to receive affordable health care.

"Before 9/11, you called us for help," McNamara said. "Now we need help."

Alan Forcier, 48, of Nesconset, said he realized he had health problems when he returned to the police narcotics squad after about six months at Fresh Kills.

"I found I couldn't go up the steps. I had to stop. I couldn't breathe," he said. "I said, 'Something's wrong here.'"

He said he has an enlarged heart and post-traumatic stress disorder. He's afraid he won't be able to afford an increase in his health care costs if the federal budget cuts go into effect.

His ailments, he said, affect his memory and sleep habits.

"I don't dream anymore," he said, "which is good, because I don't have nightmares."

MP3 Audio Clip - Alex Jones & Mike McCormack

Tuesday August 1, 2006
Ground zero hero Major Mike McCormack tells Alex Jones he was deliberately targeted for helping release documents on EPA government cover-up, says 75% of police, firemen believe 9/11 cover-up

* source = http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/september2006/150906whistleblowerra...

More MP3 Audio Clips >

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