Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Title: 9-11 in the days after

Body: This article focuses on civilian federal workers who showed up for work, and kept the government going the days after 9-11.  There were many civilian and military personnel killed that day as well. There were thousands of people age 3 to 71 killed in the attack in Washington, DC, New York City and Somerset, Pennsylvania. Our story begins September 12, 2001, and ends with the report of those killed at the Pentagon – civilians and military.See all 18 photosThe Pentagon, looking northeast with the Potomac River and Washington Monument in the distancePentagon employees walk in disbelief (DC) FIRE and Emergency Services (EMS) personnel along with US Military and Civilian volunteers work the first medical triage areaInjured victims of the 9/11 terrorists attack on the Pentagon Building in Washington, District of Columbia (DC) are loaded onto an ambulance, at the medical triage area, for transport to a local hospitalCivilian and Military personnel are evacuated down Interstate highway I-395The Federal Government Never ClosedDoes the general population remember what happened the day after 9/11/2001 – probably not? Why is that? The federal government was business as usual to the surfer guy in California, and the retired couple in New Mexico. Most federal civilian employees showed up for work in Washington, DC on 9/12, even after the terror-filled day before was fresh in their minds. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 600,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia. Unionized federal employees are a fraction of the federal workforce. There are more than 700,000 Department of Defense civilian employees. “ Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”- Theodore Roosevelt. 125 military and civilian federal workers died at the Pentagon on 9-11. Washington, DC is a government town with the government representing the largest employing agency. Several generations of families have a history of government employment. It’s not usual to find a husband and wife and/or children working at different agencies. Pentagon civilian federal employees along with the military were the first to risk their lives for the victims of September 11th. People were running towards the building, NOT away. According to press release by the American Federation of Government Employees the Bush Administration considered it a threat to national security for federal workers to speak out as verification to the need of a secure workforce for a secure homeland. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) called on the U.S. Senate to vote for a new Department of Homeland Security that will preserve the rights of federal workers as it protects America’s safety.Many American citizens don’t realize that civilian federal employees are basically on duty 24/7. In the face of any national security they are expected to report for work. Thousands of federal employees from across the United States responded to the September 11th disaster at a moment’s notice and deployed without question just like the active duty military are expected to do. Civilian employees continued working around the clock, seven days a week for months after the attacks. They demonstrated unquestionable loyalty, absolute flexibility, and humanitarianism to serve the American public during the national catastrophe. “It's amazing how what can be accomplished when nobody cares about who gets the credit.” - Robert Yates. The damage to the Pentagon was cleared and repaired within a year, and the Pentagon Memorial was built on the site. Soldiers prepare to lower the garrison flag that draped the side of the Pentagon beside the impact site where terrorists crashed a hijacked airliner Sept. 11, 2001. The soldiers folded the flag ceremonially Oct. 11 for presentation to Army leadershipAmerica's Heroes Memorial at the PentagonThe Pentagon Memorial (foreground) and United States Air Force Memorial located in Arlington County, VirginiaPentagon lit up for 9/11 anniversary Memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery for the 184 victims of the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attack on the PentagonPeople Helping People"Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength." Dalai Lama Alongside military personnel assigned to the Pentagon, civilian workers spent the first 48 hours after the collapse working 12-16 hour shifts going through rubble seeking survivors. Medical personal from Ft. Myer and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)/Paramedic- DC Fire and EMS Department were some of the first medical staff on the scene at the Pentagon facing scores of severely burned victims. They assisted with triage; evaluated the degree of the burns and prepared the most critical for evacuation by helicopter neighboring civilian hospitals.

Management Analyst from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Headquarters, Washington, D.C., went into disaster mode within the hour after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. September 11th federal employees worked a 24-hour shift in Washington. Men and women with children at home worked 12-hour shifts in Washington for more than two weeks. Depending on their jobs, some of these same men and women left their families and traveled to New York to continue working 12-hour shifts for another four weeks.  There was a job to be done and they did it.“Now is the time. Needs are great, but your possibilities are greater." Bill Blackman.  With no time to grieve for co-workers and neighbors, the ordeal was strenuous, physically and emotionally. The majority of federal employees believe that government workers are the heart and soul of the federal government. They are proud and enthusiastic to serve their fellow Americans, and would never allow anything to prevent the mission from being fulfilled. Civilian federal workers ARE homeland security.Killed on DutyFederal workers injured or killed at the Pentagon were not entitled to any additional compensation. Federal benefits and FAQ were clearly outlined by the Office of Personnel Management. There is a memo Excused Absence and Assistance to Federal Employees Affected by the Attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The DOD is the major tenant of The Pentagon building near Washington, D.C., and has three major departments– the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force. Among the many DOD agencies are the Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and the National Security Agency (NSA). The department also operates several joint service schools, including the National War College.Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom Defense of Freedom MedalDefense of Freedom Medal, which was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to honor civilian Pentagon employees killed in the attacks. In a September 27, 2001 press release, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Defense of Freedom medal to honor civilian employees of the Department of Defense injured or killed in the line of duty. The Defense of Freedom medal is the civilian equivalent of the military's Purple Heart. The first recipients honored were those Defense Department civilians injured or killed as a result of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon September 11th. Nearly half of the people killed at the Pentagon were civilians, not including the plane passengers.

The Department of Defense awarded the newly created Defense of Freedom Medal to the families of a senior civilian employee of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and four executives of the Raytheon Company who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. In announcing the award on Sept. 27, Rumsfeld said the civilians killed or wounded in the attacks were "combat casualties—brave men and women who risked their lives to safeguard our freedom, and they paid for our liberty with their lives."

The medal was designed by Sarah LeClerc and Costella Alford. The design approved has a red, white and blue ribbon with the face having an eagle bearing a shield and floating on a laurel branch the reverse has the wording "On Behalf of a Grateful Nation" with a laurel wreath. The medal is done in 24kt gold finish.

The red stripes memorialize valor and sacrifice and the four of them represent the four hijacked aircraft. The blue stripe symbolizes strength and loyalty and is noteworthy of the attack on the Pentagon. The white stripes indicate liberty. The eagle with shield characterize defense and the laurel branch symbolizes excellence and honor. The laurel wreath on the reverse represents honor.

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