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Sept.11, 2001, a day that, if we were old enough to remember, we will never forget. Heroic first responders came together to help their fellow American through one of the most devastating attacks on U.S. soil ever. We, the people, celebrated that courage, that heroism. Congress, the politicians, not so much.

As of June 19, 2019, 50,000 survivors have been diagnosed with illnesses related to 9/11. Not until Jon Stewart shined a flood light on the problem, not until he embarrassed Republican Congressmen and women, did the first responders, the heroes of 9/11 get the long overdue legislative support needed, 18 years later, many of whom had already died from their conditions.

As we face this unprecedented pandemic, we have a new set of heroes. Essential workers who risk their health and lives and that of their families to go to work day after day. Essential workers who do not have the luxury to stay home with their children and receive unemployment. Heaven help us if we honor them in name and not in action.

Here are some ideas to honor their sacrifice: health care for them and their family, hazard pay, legislation that ensures safer workplaces. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is working on tuition-free educational programs, college, for their essential workers. It is time for Wisconsin to start figuring out how we’re meaningfully going to say thank you.

Sarah Yacoub


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