Reps. Steve Israel and Peter King announced legislation to create a national 9/11 Oral History Project inspired by an effort that has recorded the stories of first responders from Long Island and the metropolitan area.
The bill would direct the Library of Congress to "coordinate at a national level the collection of video and audio recordings of the . . . testimonials of emergency responders and recovery and cleanup workers who responded to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks," according to a statement about the bill.
The measure would encourage and build on local 9/11 Oral History Projects, including that of Benjamin Luft, director of the Long Island World Trade Center Program, an arm of the WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program consortium.
The bill authorizes $250,000 for the first year of the project.
King said that preservation of the responders' testimony, "will not only honor their courage and sacrifice, but will serve as a constant reminder of the evil that was inflicted on our nation."
Luft, who attended the news conference at the Innovative Stone 9/11 Memorial in Hauppauge, said, "The power of the responders' stories and actions, their motivation, courage and resiliency, their altruism, patriotism and sense of community, are an important part of our common legacy." His project has recorded over 125 stories of responders from Long Island and the metropolitan area.
Also at the news conference was first responder John Feal, who created the Feal Good Foundation to help with the often devastating health impacts on 9/11 first responders. He was the first to recount his story for Luft's project.
"This legislation will ensure we are never forgotten," he said, "and the sacrifice made by so many amazing men and woman will be etched in history forever."
More than 50,000 people from across the nation responded to the World Trade Center attacks, King (R-Seaford) and Israel (D-Dix Hills) said.