Published 11 Sep, 2014
Today, on the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we pay tribute to those who lost their lives and to the resilience and power of the American spirit.
At this morning’s moving ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial, President Obama said these words in recognition of the men and women who displayed tremendous heroism on the job in the aftermath of the attacks:
“America endures in the dedication of those who keep us safe. The firefighter, the officer, the EMT who carries the memory of a fallen partner as they report to work each and every day, prepared to make the same sacrifice for us all. Because of these men and women, Americans now work in a gleaming Freedom Tower. We visit our great cities, we fill our stadiums and cheer for our teams. We carry on, because, as Americans, we do not give in to fear—ever.”
These words describe not only the uniformed public employees who responded on 9/11 but also the 3,000 transit workers—members of TWU Local 100—who rushed to Ground Zero that day to support recovery efforts, and worked on the scene during the days and weeks that followed.
And across the country, thousands more of our union brothers and sisters served in the armed forces defending our nation’s freedom in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
After the planes hit, New York City Transit workers began immediately mobilizing for the evacuation of Lower Manhattan. They assisted in the painstaking search for victims and the removal of hundreds of tons of broken cement and i-beams.
They drove the subways and buses that brought countless New Yorkers swiftly away from the disaster site, and rushed in hundreds of firefighters and police officers who came to render aid. Our brothers and sisters picked up passengers from the Cortlandt St./World Trade Center subway stop just as the towers fell.
They brought in heavy rigs and began hauling 80,000-pound loads of debris by tractor trailer from the site. They cut steel and put the supercrane, which usually lifts sections of railroad track, into service at the site.
In the history books, transit workers are generally overlooked, but the record shows that 3,000 Local 100 members worked on the pile, many for weeks. Today, many suffer health effects from their service.
TWU International Executive Vice President and Local 100 President John Samuelsen was one of those there on a daily basis serving alongside members from most every title in transit.
Today, we recognize their work and we pay tribute to their strength and patriotism.
See more photos documenting the work of our Brothers and Sisters at TWU Local 100