The Heroes of Nypd, FDNY Didn't Hesitate to do the Right Thing, Congress Shouldn't Either

NY Daily News - December 21, 2010

by s 12/21/10

None of the Christmas shoppers streaming past seemed to notice the cop who stood holding a black, 3-foot-long cylindrical device on the street made famous by the classic Santa Claus movie.

"It's for measuring radiation," the cop said.

He was on guard against a dirty bomb, which is well within Al Qaeda's capabilities. Had such an attack been carried out on this bustling street, we would have witnessed a very different kind of "Miracle on 34th Street," in its own way just as remarkable.

From every part of the city, cops and firefighters would have responded just as quickly as they did on 9/11, again dashing straight into harm's way. That would include firehouses that lost every single member nine years ago.

The first responders would have been not even a step slower because the federal government lied to them last time about the deadly toxins in the air and then repeatedly resisted covering their medical costs as more and more of them fell ill and died.

Anybody who knows our cops and firefighters knows they would not hesitate to answer duty's call, no matter how disgracefully they had been betrayed.

"He always said he would still go back that day, even knowing," Joseph Zadroga said at a news conference called by Mayor Bloomberg yesterday.

He was speaking of his son, NYPD Detective James Zadroga, who died in 2006 of illness related to 9/11 - "that day." The son repeatedly vowed that he would have done it all over again. His name now graces the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which Congress may finally pass.

"This isn't an earmark," the elder Zadroga said. "This is what they are owed."

Also present were Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who keep watch in a jittery city.

The day began with emissions from a computer monitor triggering a radiation alarm over at Newark Airport, prompting a shutdown of Terminal A.

Then, a suspicious package in an SUV near the Metropolitan Museum of Art prompted a shutdown of Fifth Ave.

Another suspicious package in HeraldSquare prompted a shutdown of W.34th St.

Had a real bomb gone off, Kelly and Cassano would have presided over that other kind of Miracle.

The certainty that our first responders would leap into action is all the more reason Congress must pass the Zadroga bill.

Not even Dickens could have conjured a Sen. Scrooge who would let this bill die and then go happily home for Christmas.

Maybe those perpetual naysayers in Congress could try being a little more like our cops and firefighters.

"Get the job done," Cassano said.