General Ramblings: Bounced

September 1, 2011       Paul Clolery      

Past and present Presidents of the United States are expected at Ground Zero on September 11. The governors of New York and New Jersey will be there, too, as will past and present mayors of New York City.

Who won’t be there? The politicians who were not in office on that horrible day have excluded the first responders who rushed to the scene, such as members of the Fire Department of the City of New York, from participating in the ceremonies.

Mind you, the first responders lobbied and argued unsuccessfully then Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for better radios because the equipment they had did not work well in the asbestos-insulated twin towers of the World Trade Center. They found that out a few years earlier during the first attempt to bring a tower down.

When the “all out” call was made because a tower was coming down, the warning was not heard by many responders. They died minutes later when the building rumbled to rubble. Giuliani will be at the ceremony, but as of this writing, the responders will not.

The elected who were not there have turned their backs on the courageous men and women who worked day and night at “the pile” in hopes of finding survivors and putting out the flames. They have tried to ignore the responders for a decade.

It took nearly 10 years for the elected, who will read poetry at Ground Zero, to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to help the responders with medical issues related to their heroism.

What is it going to take for the people who did the work to not to be considered as a second thought? Folk singer Tom Paxton’s moving song The Bravest says all that needs to be said when it comes to the reason the politicians should reverse their decision: “We kept on running down the stairs while they kept climbing higher.”

This must be the month for important snubs. None in the industry took on Jerry Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) more than the pages of The NonProfit Times. It was argued that the organization wasn’t transitioning fast enough for a new generation of donors. All of the official members of the 1950s and 1960s Rat Pack were gone but not in MDA World.

Lewis has made outrageous statements over the years, some of which were not in the best interest of the MDA. And at age 85, it was about time the organization significantly reduced his camera time during the annual Labor Day telethon. It was announced he’d make an appearance at the end of this year’s show to sing the trademark You’ll Never Walk Alone. Now after a few more outrageous comments on a media tour not related to the MDA, they completely kicked him to the curb.

What are they thinking? The man spent nearly a half-century fronting for the organization and raising more than $1 billion. To not send him out with dignity and a proper acknowledgement is simply wrong. He deserves a parade, not a kick in the butt.

Lewis has remained quiet but has said that he’ll hold a press conference after the Labor Day telethon. This should be interesting. NPT

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