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Ceremony at Kensico Dam's 9/11 memorial marks 22 years since of end of recovery efforts at ground zero

The effort was eight months and 19 days of relentless work by first responders - work that ended up exposing them to toxic fumes and chemicals, that to this day, are still killing them.

Emily Young

May 30, 2024, 9:28 PM

Updated 19 days ago

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Community members gathered at Kensico Dam's 9/11 memorial on Thursday to honor the 77 people in Westchester County who died from ground zero-related illnesses.
It comes on the 22nd anniversary of the official ending of the rescue-and-recovery efforts at ground zero.
The effort was eight months and 19 days of relentless work by first responders - work that ended up exposing them to toxic fumes and chemicals, that to this day, are still killing them.
"Every year, unfortunately and sadly, we add names to the monument behind me," said Georgia Ascuitto. Her husband Stephen Hittman was the executive director of the FDNY. He died 11 ½ years after Sept. 11 2001.
"My husband was diagnosed and died in 10 weeks from a very aggressive cancer. He was a very, very healthy individual. This is not uncommon," she explained.
Former Police Officer Matthew McCauley was there on 9/11 and in the days that followed, working side by side with many of the people listed on the monuments. He says he sometimes wonders why he isn't one of those names.
"You can't really explain it. Because there's people who spent 800 hours on the pile running marathons, and people who were there 16-24 hours and are up on the memorials," he said.
Construction workers and journalists are also honored there along with first responders.
"They don't have other places where they're recognized. To have someone's grandchild come up and point up and say that's grandma or grandpa, is really nice," added McCauley.
County Executive George Latimer says commemorating anniversaries like this one is more important than its ever been.
"There's now a generation of Americans in college who weren't alive on 9/11 and don't have recollection of work that went down on the pile, but this is something that happened in history that you want people to know and understand," he said.
Latimer and the Westchester County 9/11 First Responders Memorial Committee says more names will be added to the stones. The names will be read in a ceremony on Sept. 11.


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