By Catherine Herridge
The oral histories of 135 first responders to the 9/11 terrorist attacks will become part of the permanent archives of the Library of Congress, Reps. Peter King and Steve Israel announced Monday.
"What will people say and how will they perceive what happened on that day 100 years from now?" asked Israel (D-Dix Hills), noting that many responders not only could tell what they saw at the World Trade Center site but also had shot videotape.
Israel and King (R-Seaford) had pushed to get the the library to include the responders' accounts. They also have introduced legislation to enable the library to create a national project to collect video and audio histories of responders and recovery and cleanup workers at the attack sites.
"[This] will ensure that the heroics of our first responders on September 11th are preserved," said King.
Dr. Benjamin Luft, of the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring & Treatment Program at Stony Brook University, has collected 135 of the stories of responders from
Long Island and around the New York metro area. The federally funded program, which also has clinics in Manhattan, Queens and Piscataway, N.J., provides free health monitoring and treatment for WTC rescue, recovery and cleanup workers.
Responders who appeared at the news conference at Innovative Stone in Hauppauge included John Feal, 54, of Nesconset, and Ken George, 57, of North Babylon.
Innovative Stone displays a 20-ton granite monument -- Freedom Stone -- which it created to commemorate victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Feal heads the FealGood Foundation, which assists and represents first responders injured at the 9/11 attack site.
"We cannot change what happened on 9/11, but we can learn from it . . . and it definitely brought us together," Feal said.
George, a New York City highway worker who volunteered to work at the attack site, said he now has a severe lung illness. "I didn't have it before 9/11 and had to retire five years later," George said. "This oral history thing will be great for my granddaughter over there to learn what happened to her grandfather," he said, pointing at Giovanna George, 2.