It’s more than nine years since that horrific day left thousands of people dead at the World Trade Center.
But in the ensuing years, the tragedy has taken on a larger significance. Nearly 1,000 First Responders, the heroes of the day, who risked their lives to save as many lives as possible, have died. And thousands of others are up against the clock for their own survival.
Congress has been hard pressed to pass legislation to help the Ground Zero rescue workers, until now.
For the past month, as the House has wrestled with the hot-bed issue, Larry Mendte, who does his “take no prisoners” style commentaries weeknights on the PIX News at Ten, championed their cause.
He felt the need to be their voice, after one former First Responder Charles Giles (above on right), dying from several ailments, reached out to him prior to the first vote in the House earlier this year.
“I just wrote back to him and I said, ‘Let’s just see what happens.’ Mendte recalls to FishbowlNY. “Because I couldn’t believe at the time that it wouldn’t pass.”
However, when it was voted down in June, Mendte (above on left) vowed to do all he could to make a difference.
“I felt bad. I apologized, and said ‘I want to do something to get information to people.’”
Thus began Mendte’s entire focus on 9/11, the First Responders, and both aisles of Capitol Hill for failing to see the urgency of the matter.
Mendte got so engrossed in the coverage that he was in D.C. for the last final vote, and will be there if and when it happens later this month.
“It’s impossible to know them and talk to them and not be moved to do something,” Mendte admits.
His efforts have also been featured on the PIX Morning News interviewing Giles live at his home.
“It turned out to be much more powerful than I ever could have imagined…. At the time, he was bedridden….39 medications laying next to him… so well spoken, and he’s such a great advocate for them,” Mendte says.
Despite wanting to help in any way, Mendte doesn’t feel pressure to give air time to their plight.
“I can’t believe the other television outlets have not picked up on this story,” Mendte admits. “They’re doing the smallest of coverage they can do. …I think they should be down there (Washington) because it would show some New York unity.”
The Senate vote could happen by tomorrow and Mendte is guardedly optimistic for the First Responders.
“They probably have more hope now then they’ve ever had before, but they’ve been down this road so many times. It’s really despicable.”