Little use for tears

Columnist : Albert Paschall

Terrence E. Adderly Jr., 21 years old. His grandfather taught him to read the Wall Street Journal at an early age. By the time he was 12 he was picking his own stocks. After graduating from Vanderbilt he found a good fit on Wall Street. Money manager David Alger brought him in to work in his new office: World Trade Center Tower.

Terrence E. Adderly was murdered on September 11, 2001.

All five foot, two inches of Marlyn del Carmen Garcia stood down drug dealers at the age of 14. She graduated in 1999 as valedictorian of her class at Bay Ridge Christian Academy. Offered a scholarship to Syracuse University, she turned it down to stay close to home. Enrolled part time at John Jay College she arrived at her job at Marsh & McLennan on the 101st floor of World Trade Center Tower a half hour early every day, so she could leave in time to attend classes.

Marlyn del Carmen Garcia was murdered on September 11, 2001.

Lukasz Milewski, a native of Poland, had been in America just a year. He had a summer job serving food at the canteen at the Cantor – Fitzgerald Brokerage. He was proud to be working in the World Trade Center often sending photos of himself standing in front of the building to his girlfriend back home.

His body was never identified after he was murdered on September 11, 2001.

Candace Lee Williams was on her way to Hollywood. The 20-year-old was enrolled in a work study program at Northeastern University in Boston that led her to an internship at Merrill Lynch on the 14th floor of World Trade Center. She was on her way to California to meet a friend with just a kid’s wish to get her picture taken next to the famous Hollywood sign.

As a passenger on Flight 11, Candace was murdered when it was driven into the heart of World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

It would be easy to add another 3,025 names to this story. The heroic passengers on Flight 93 should be here. It’s highly likely they spared The White House from destruction. Four hundred and eighteen firefighters and police officers killed on that horrible day must be remembered, not forgetting the 2,337 people injured, some maimed for life.

But in the horror that we remember on September 11th, we are reminded that the nation rallied. Within minutes New York responded, within hours the Federal Emergency Management Agency was on-site coping with the worst man made disaster in the nation’s history.

So what went wrong in New Orleans last week? With a predicted major hurricane on its way why did it take 4 days for the Federal Government just to get bottled water to the displaced people? As this edition goes to deadline almost a week later helicopters are still picking people out of the water and estimates range to 10,000 killed, 30,000 injured and 400,000 of our fellow citizens displaced all over the nation. There will never be an accounting of the emotional toll.

The difference between the unpredicted terrorist massacre and the predicted Katrina is that we have a new Federal agency in charge: the Department of Homeland Security. FEMA’s responsibilities were swept into the new massive bureaucracy in the wake of the 9-11 tragedy. Where there are more bureaucrats there’s more inertia. Reports of relief trucks turned around by Homeland Security agents, delay of medical supplies while Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff spent countless hours on TV shows letting the world know just how important he is and how it is far more important to plan to respond than to just get there.

Someday undoubtedly there will be a voluminous report on the aftermath of the devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi. Maybe the lesson will be learned and steps will be taken to restore FEMA’s original mission. But in the meantime there’s little use for tears on the anniversary of 9-11. Instead of crying sit down and write a check to the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army or any other of the nonprofit agencies that rushed relief to the victims while Homeland Security planned to do it. Write it as a tribute to Terrence, Marlyn, Lukasz and Candace and the 3, 025 others just like them who died on that awful day.

Albert Paschall
Senior Fellow
The Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc.

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