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Is Change Really Coming To America?

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Author Topic: Is Change Really Coming To America?  (Read 20 times)
Veronica Poe
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« on: May 14, 2010, 01:28:17 pm »

Is Change Really Coming To America?

Three prominent representatives of the 9/11 Families appeared on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with David Shuster on March 26th and called on the President to get involved with the direction we are taking as a country at Ground Zero. We have said all along that the breakdown at this site mirrors the breakdown of our country and that this is the best possible place and time to turn it around. Certainly, the nation’s economic distress is making the way this is being handled all the more unacceptable.
Retired NYFD Chief Jim Riches remarked on the arrogance and audacity of the Port Authority — but contempt for the people isn’t limited to the PA. He called for someone to step in and take charge and use some common sense. That would be refreshing.
Maureen Santora, who lost her son Christopher, called on President Obama to come to New York and see the site and the proposed Twin Towers II model and blueprints.
FDNY Lt. Jim McCaffrey pointed out that America was attacked on 9/11, not New York or Washington or Pennsylvania, so it certainly makes sense for the President of the United States become involved in a process that has languished for far too long, has seen too many mistakes, and said that we would welcome his input.
There is a lot more to the segment and we encourage people to view the video, as well as read Lt. McCaffrey’s excellent op-ed in the Daily News.
Following the segment, David asked two political commentators for their reactions and there was agreement that this is a fitting place for the President to take charge. Democrats and Republicans alike are hoping President Obama will move in to get the politics out of the one place it has never belonged and to inject the Yes We Can spirit into it — instead of the Hot Potato Shuffle that everyone else is doing.
That is all it will take to fix this mess once and FOR ALL, but on March 27th the White House issued a statement that said: “From the first days of this administration, we‘ve had an open dialogue with the 9/11 families and the families of the victims of the USS Coal attack. We‘re familiar with their concerns and are willing to discuss them. But it appears that this is an issue that should be resolved by state and local government officials.”
We hope to make the President aware of why the mistakes made at the state and local levels aren’t going to be fixed there. There is a lot of effort going into making our case loud and clear. Meanwhile, the transcript of that night’s segment with David Shuster and Chief Riches really puts the whole matter into perspective.
Joining us now is Jim Riches, a retired chief of the New York City Fire Department. His son was also a firefighter and died on 9/11. Last month, Jim was part of a group of 9/11 families who met with President Obama at the White House to talk about Gitmo. He was told by the president the families would always find an open line to the White House. Jim, what do you make of the White House response?
JIM RICHES, FMR. FIREFIGHTER: I think they have a lot on their plate now, with the economy and everything else. We as families, it‘s a disgrace to America and my son, and everybody that died day. There‘s a hole in the ground. And they‘re talking about wasting 40 million dollars a year on a museum.
I think it ought to be looked at. Nobody is in charge down there. Nobody is taking the forefront to do anything, Mayor Bloomberg, the governors of New Jersey and New York, Paterson and Corzine. I think it‘s a disgrace. We can‘t even get the ranks of the men, the firemen, lieutenants and captains at the Fire Department, on the memorial. I find that hard to believe. We have a general from the Pentagon that won‘t even know who he is. His name will be on it, that‘s it.
They ought to sit down, somebody ought to step up and take charge. The Obama administration should tickle somebody‘s feet, because the Port Authority and everything is getting done down there. There is no one leader. We need one commander.
SHUSTER: In addition to the whole issue of the memorial, itself, it‘s going to be subterranean, as a lot of people have criticized and don‘t understand. There‘s also that issue with what was known as the Freedom Tower, which was the plan that was essentially forced by government officials. Nobody ever considered rebuilding the Twin Towers.
Now, the Freedom Tower, which has had a difficult time getting any tenants, the Port Authority has decided to rename it World Trade Center One. As we were talking last night, World Trade Center One was one of the Twin Towers. What do you make of that and how does that strike you?
RICHES: It strikes me at unusual. There‘s going to be no American flag down at this memorial that we‘re having. I think that‘s a disgrace. I think for someone to change the name of the Freedom Tower shows their arrogance and their ignorance. And it‘s an insult to my son and all the others that died that day. They don‘t want to be too American or what it is? This is an American tragedy. American heroes died that day. And they deserve the best down there.
For us to waste all the money—we‘re looking for something simple, and that will be respectful, and it will be the right kind of tribute to our sons and the people that died that day. Hopefully, someone will step up and take charge. Right now, there‘s no leader that‘s stepping up.
SHUSTER: Jim, the White House did say they‘re willing to discuss your concerns, although, of course, right now they‘re leaving it to state and local officials. Is there an effort, then, that‘s going to be made by 9/11 families to try to talk directly to the White House?
RICHES: We‘re going to reach out and keep trying. We‘re not happy with what they‘re doing down there. They‘ve not listened to the families at all. The Port Authority has made their own decisions of what they want to do, and have disregarded the governors and the people at the people‘s word.
They picked this Freedom Tower design, even though it wasn‘t the one that was selected. I think it‘s outrageous. We‘re upset. We‘re going to continue to fight, because our sons can‘t speak for themselves so we‘ll speak out for them.
SHUSTER: John Richards from the FDNY, whose son died on 9/11, thanks again for coming on tonight. We appreciate it.
RICHES: Thank you.
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