A temporary "Tribute of Light" will fill the sky over the World Trade Center site. Hundreds of New York firefighters are battling stress-related ailments since the terrorist strikes. U.S. officials are studying the ties between American extremists and foreign terror groups.
Temporary ‘Tribute of Light’ at WTC
N E W Y O R K, Feb. 28 — A temporary memorial for the victims of the World Trade Center attacks will soon shine.
The "Tribute of Light" will consist of two diffused, vertical beams of light, rising from 50-foot bases in a vacant parking lot near the trade center site, said Marian Fontana, president of the Sept. 11 Widows' and Victims' Families Association.
Fontana discussed plans for the memorial after meeting with Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday. The mayor says he supports the idea.
The memorial will run from March 11 to April 13, and the beams will be illuminated nightly until 11 p.m.
The project would be shut down in cloudy conditions so light doesn't spill into surrounding apartments, Bloomberg said.
The families who met with Bloomberg also asked him to help slow the pace of the trade center site redevelopment and to secure a private, indoor viewing space for families wanting to observe recovery of human remains from the site. Group representatives said the mayor was receptive to both requests.
Bloomberg had said Tuesday that the rebuilding process should be slowed rather than expedited.
—The Associated Press
Stress-Related Ailments Plague Firefighters
N E W Y O R K, Feb. 28 — Hundreds of firefighters and emergency medical workers who responded to the World Trade Center attack have reported nightmares, sudden anger and other psychological symptoms so severe that they were taken off active duty.
The 14,000-member Fire Department said it has put about 350 people with stress-related problems on light duty or medical leave since Sept. 11.
Nearly 2,000 more firefighters, fire officers and workers in the department's Emergency Medical Service unit have seen a counselor since Sept. 11 through the FDNY's counseling services unit.
The number is unexpectedly large for an institution that traditionally prefers to handle problems within the close-knit firehouse fraternity.
"Few people would have predicted as many firefighters would come forward looking for help," said Terence Keane, a counseling unit consultant who heads the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Boston.
Firefighters say the staggering losses of Sept. 11 changed perceptions of the counseling unit, once seen as only for those with drug or alcohol problems. The department lost 343 members when the twin towers collapsed.
"Before this, guys would not even dream of going to counseling," said 10-year firefighter Vinny Picciano, who sees a counselor once a week. "Now, the guys that are coming down, they realize something is wrong. Guys are hurting."
Of the 350 placed on light duty or medical leave, about 100 remained off the active roster as of Wednesday. Many others have retired or returned to work.
An additional 650 fire personnel are on light duty or medical leave because of physical injuries, from respiratory ailments to broken bones. Some of them are also said to have symptoms of extreme stress.
The department is working firefighters overtime because of the lost manpower. The department expects to spend as much as $170 million on overtime this fiscal year, roughly double its previous amount, spokesman Frank Gribbon said.