9/11

Protecting Children From Raw 9/11 Memories

On the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, it was hard for me to comprehend that a decade had passed since I watched the towers burn in Lower Manhattan. I could still picture the bodies free-falling through the sky like broken twigs. I could still remember the feeling of white tower dust in my mouth. And the smell of burning jet fuel, even just the faintest wisp, would send my body into full-fledged panic.

Exclusive: 'We Were Not Told To Lie' About 9/11 And Health

After stepping down this summer as the head of the EPA, the embattled Christine Todd Whitman is once again in the hot seat. This time it's over her role in the downplaying of health hazards for New York City residents after 9/11. A report by the EPA inspector general says that Whitman assured the public that the air was safe before testing was conclusive. She's also under fire for allowing EPA statements to be filtered through the White House and screened by the Council on Environmental Quality, which is chaired by James Connaughton, a lawyer who formerly represented the asbestos industry.The long-term effects of inhaling contaminated air is unknown. But New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler accuses the administration of covering up a potential health danger in order to get the economy up and running. "Many people will die early because of this," says Nadler.In her first interview since the release of the report, Whitman tells NEWSWEEK that she did not object when the White House edited out...

Letter From America

The first thing I notice is the smell. It isn't just the caustic scent of burnt steel and jet fuel, familiar from the World Trade Center. It's something human, the odor of death. The next things I notice are the mountains of gray dirt, stretching as far as I can see. A crane scoops from a pile and spreads it out; FBI agents swarm over it with shovels. These aren't mere piles of dirt at all. They are the pulverized remains of the Twin Towers and all that was inside. ...

What To Do With An Auto Graveyard

Six months after they were crushed, burned or covered with debris, New York City is ready to dispose of more than 1,000 vehicles recovered from the World Trade Center attacks. The city had planned to hand the cars and trucks over to insurance companies or owners as early as Monday. But at the last moment, the federal government stepped in and called a halt to the transfer.For weeks, local, state and federal officials have squabbled over whether the vehicles—most of which are coated with fine powder of World Trade Center debris—are safe. “We know the dust contains lead, zinc, mercury, asbestos, not to mention organic materials,” says New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “To release cars to owners is highly irresponsible.” On Thursday, Nadler wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Christie Todd Whitman urging her to file an emergency injunction against the city to prevent their release. On Friday, the EPA asked the city to meet with its officials before releasing the...

Q&A: How 9/11 Kids Coped With Their Loss

A new study finds that children who lost a parent on 9/11 are suffering a disproportionate share of anxiety and stress disorders.

Paul Martin

On September 11, 2001, Karen Ann Martin, the head flight attendant of American Airlines Flight 11, perished when her plane collided with the World Trade Center's North Tower. But it wasn't until this year that the New York City medical examiner identified some of her remains. Karen's younger brother, Paul, spoke with Julie Scelfo.In October. They contacted my older brother. He was kind of shocked. We, all of us [Karen had three siblings], never thought we'd have any remains for her. We had a memorial when it first happened. Then we had a funeral in October 2001, when we buried an urn with rubble from Ground Zero.It was always like something was missing. Some people in my family never got to mourn her death.The remains are a lower leg and a foot. At first that was kind of hard to hear. But it was also a relief, because we knew we could finally bring her home. What are your plans?We had her remains cremated, and she actually arrived today [Dec. 13, 2006]. We plan to bury her where we...

Tv: Lobbying For A Little Restraint

As the first anniversary of the 9-11 attacks draws nearer, victims' families are quietly waging a letter-writing campaign asking TV networks to provide warnings before airing graphic footage of the attacks. Carie Lemack, a 27-year-old from Boston whose mother was on American Airlines Flight 11, says that when she sees the plane going into the North Tower, "it's like watching my mother being murdered over and over again." Other families say the same. "There'll be a news show on... and suddenly it'll go to a shot of the buildings falling," says Kathy Ashton, whose 21-year-old son started work in the WTC on Sept. 10. "Before I can look away, I've seen Tommy die again." Knowing that the coverage will only increase in the weeks to come, Lemack posted a form letter on the Families of September 11 Web site; so far, hundreds of letters have been sent to national cable networks and local news stations. While none of the major networks have agreed to cue viewers, most say they are trying to...

9/11 Cleanup Continues

For New Yorkers living in lower Manhattan, the abandoned, black-shrouded 40-story building across from Ground Zero has for years been a reminder of how the collapsing twin towers emitted a vast blanket of environmental contamination that may still affect nearby residents and workers. On the morning of September 11, 2001, a falling section of 2 World Trade Center ripped open a 15-story hole in the Deutsche Bank Building, which allowed toxic dust and ashes to pour in. According to a damage report prepared for Deutsche Bank in 2003, asbestos, lead, mercury, dioxins and carcinogenic PCBs penetrated the building, snaking their way into interior stairwells, elevator shafts, wall cavities and ventilation systems. In the months that followed, mold also proliferated, contributing to what the report described as "a combination of contaminants ... unparalleled in any other building designed for office use."After a lengthy battle involving insurers and downtown-rebuilding officials, Deutsche...

N.Y. Closure

The site is two boroughs and more than a dozen miles away from what used to be the World Trade Center. But for hundreds of workers who spent the last 10 months at the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, the horrors have been the same. More than 1.8 million tons of debris was brought from Ground Zero. Wearing hazmat suits and respirators, law-enforcement officers and volunteers searched the wreckage for human remains, personal artifacts and, without avail, black boxes from the hijacked airplanes. By last week, 175 acres of debris had been reduced to three 25-foot heaps. But the piles continue to give up grisly artifacts: recently, a police officer's jacket and the wallet of a female passenger on American Airlines Flight 11 were found. More than 4,400 human remains have been recovered at the landfill, from which 191 people have been identified. Now, most of the people who worked "The Hill" will head home. "What's tough is knowing that there're families out there who are still...

Anxiety: 'We're All Targets'

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the chance of a terror attack is high. Which is why attendance is soaring at American Red Cross disaster-preparation classes around the country. "I'm not freaked out," says Linda Velez, who recently attended "Preparing for the Unexpected" in New York. "I just want more information." Counterterrorism professionals are offering classes, too: at the Fort Sherman Institute for Human Protection at North Idaho College, a former Department of Defense expert is teaching businessmen how to fight back if they're on a plane overtaken by hijackers. GlobalOptions, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based firm, is preparing private clients to survive a biological or radiological attack, whether at home or in the workplace (hint: turn the bathroom into a safe room). A former SWAT instructor in Hollywood, Fla., Walter Philbrick, is offering the granddaddy of survival classes tha

September 11: Glimpse Of A Tragedy

Millions were touched by the events of September 11, and now they're getting a chance to understand the tragedy up close. A new exhibit by the New York State Museum, "Recovery: The World Trade Center Recovery Operation at Fresh Kills," debuted in August at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland and will travel across the country for the next three years to places like Cleburne, Texas, and Oak Ridge, Tenn. The exhibit includes striking photographs of the 1.8 million tons of debris, plus artifacts like building facades and mangled fire-truck parts. "When you see a few pieces and then see photographs of endless piles of debris," says exhibit organizer Mark Schaming, "you begin to more viscerally understand the magnitude of the disaster."