Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NEWS RELEASE: 9/11 First Responders Present Signed American Flag To Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Office Today

(I don't usually post news releases en toto.  However, I was touched when I stumbled upon this story, and because of time constraints and that it would really be silly to try to re-write this, I am posting this as is.  The presentation takes place at 2:00p.m (Arizona Time).)


Memento cites song, saying ‘It will be a beautiful day’ when Giffords returns to Congress

WASHINGTON – First responders from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks of New York City will present a signed American flag to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office in the Capitol tomorrow.

“We are deeply honored that the first responders who answered the call when terrorists attacked our nation on 9/11 plan to visit the congresswoman’s office,” said Pia Carusone, Giffords’ chief of staff and a native New Yorker. “Their service to our country during the hours and days following that terrifying attack were an enormous comfort during one of the most difficult periods our nation has experienced.”

On the date of the 9/11 attacks, Carusone was director of a New York state certified emergency medical services unit that sent multiple emergency medical technicians to assist in responding to the tragedy.

Tomorrow’s flag presentation has been arranged by John Feal who made 89 trips to Washington to lobby for the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The act, signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 2, pays for health care for responders sickened by pollution at the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York.

About 50 first responders from 9/11 will be in Washington on Tuesday to commemorate passage and signing of the James Zadroga Act. Feal said the police officers, firefighters, construction workers and volunteers decided to also honor Giffords.

“I saw a brilliant young lady struck down by senseless violence,” Feal said of Giffords. “I just felt that we had to do something.”

Feal noted that Giffords has said that “Beautiful Day” by U2 is one of her favorite songs. She chose it to be played as a wakeup song on a 2008 space shuttle flight commanded by her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly.

Because of that, the signed flag to be presented to Giffords’ office will have the message, “Congresswoman Giffords: When you return to Congress, it will be a beautiful day,” said Feal.

“When 9/11 happened, it brought the entire country together,” Feal said. “This has the potential to bring people together, too.”

Feal lost part of his foot working as a construction supervisor at the World Trade Center site. He was a leader in winning passage of the legislation last month.

Feal will be in the gallery at Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech, invited by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the chief sponsor of the bill in the Senate and a close personal friend of Giffords.

Feal, a U.S. Army veteran, is founder and president of the Feal Good Foundation. The non-profit organization educates the public about the catastrophic health effects on 9/11 first responders and provides assistance to relieve them of financial burdens.

Carusone noted that first responders are called to duty at a moment’s notice every day around the country – including on Jan. 8 when Giffords and 18 others were shot by a gunman at Giffords’ Congress on Your Corner event in Northwest Tucson. Six people, including a member of Giffords’ staff, were killed in the attack.

“The sheriff’s deputies, police officers, paramedics and others who responded to the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson saved lives and were a tremendous source of support and comfort to Tucsonans and members of the congresswoman’s staff who were affected by this horrible event,” Carusone said.

Carusone said the flag, which the first-responders are presenting in a shadow box, “will be a valued gift that we will forever treasure.”

WHAT: First responders from 9/11 present signed flag to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office
WHEN: 4-4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011
WHERE: Congresswoman’s Giffords’ office, 1030 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

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