Columns

Blaine's Bulletin: Certainty for 9/11 First Responders

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Washington, August 2, 2019 | comments

On September 11, 2001, 2,977 people lost their lives in the most devastating terrorist attack in our nation’s history. In the immediate aftermath, thousands of first responders scoured the scene for survivors, spending days or weeks inhaling dangerous carcinogens. More than eighteen years later, the lasting effects have continued to claim the lives of the brave men and women across the nation.

FBI Special Agent Melissa Morrow was raised in mid-Missouri and attended the University of Missouri where she graduated Magna Cum Laude before earning her law school juris doctorate in 1994. After graduation, she began a distinguished career as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She was assigned to the Washington D.C. Field Office where she worked until 2010.

As a member of the FBI Evidence Response Team in Washington D.C., Melissa served at the Pentagon in the months following the September 11th terrorist attacks. She spent ten weeks at the Pentagon crash site and at an evidence warehouse where she later learned she was exposed to hazardous contaminants.

In 2010, Special Agent Morrow moved back to her home state, serving in the Kansas City Field Office. She earned numerous recognitions and awards for her work in the Kansas City Field Office. Unfortunately, in July 2016, she was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of glioblastoma brain cancer, attributed to her service at the Pentagon. On March 22, 2018, Special Agent Morrow passed away. I had the honor of attending her funeral in Kansas City where she was honored for her service and dedication to the nation and remembered as a fiercely loyal friend and colleague, with an infectious laugh.

Special Agent Morrow’s death is a sobering reminder of the lasting effects of September 11th which span the entire nation and touch each and every one of us. This week, President Donald Trump signed into law legislation to permanently authorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. “Today, we come together as one nation to support our September 11th heroes, to care for their families, and to renew our eternal vow: Never, Ever Forget,” said President Trump in the Rose Garden signing ceremony.

On one of the worst days in our nation’s history, thousands of men and women put their lives on the line to save their fellow Americans. They are the best among us and deserve our full and unwavering support. With President Trump’s signature, our first responders now have certainty that their families will be taken care of – no matter what. 

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