During his time on the planet, Fred Rogers provided countless pieces of life advice that helped guide the moral compass of multiple generations, but one of my favorite lessons he doled out was what to do in the wake of some sort of catastrophic event: look for the helpers.
When 9/11 happened, there was no shortage of helpers who immediately rushed to the scene in order to do anything they could to assist, with first responders disregarding their own safety by descending upon the Twin Towers to do everything possible to help the victims of the attack.
Far too many lives were lost on that day but that was sadly only the beginning, as far too many people who assisted in recovery efforts eventually fell victim to the side effects of doing so and were eventually forced to deal with the countless health problems stemming from their time at Ground Zero.
It took longer than it should have, but a fund was eventually established to compensate the thousands of people who contracted serious ailments—including respiratory issues and cancer—during the recovery efforts. Sadly, the federal money devoted to the fund is quickly running out and it appears it’s no longer a priority in Washington, D.C.
On Tuesday, Jon Stewart descended upon the city along with a number of first responders in an attempt to fight for more money to be devoted to the fund, and at a hearing that was sparsely attended by members of Congress, he tore into the people present (and those that weren’t) for not caring about the issue in a fiery testimony.
Based on the number of topics he covered, it’s hard to succinctly sum up—not to mention truly appreciate—Stewart’s testimony unless you watch it for yourself and I highly recommend you do so if you can find the time.
Congress may have stopped giving a shit but at least the first responders can take solace in knowing they still have someone in their corner.