9/11 First Responder Gives Account 21 Years Later

In recognition of the 21st anniversary of 9/11, Pocono Update had the honor of sitting down with a first responder who shared his account. 

TOBYHANNA, PA | On Thursday, September 8, James Harley, who operated as an NYC TA Dispatcher during the September 11 attacks, sat down with Pocono Update to share his experience from that day. 

James was an on-site Dispatcher during the tragedy of 9/11. In this interview, he recalls the chaos of the day, his experience of being on the scene during the first fateful hours, and the measures that emergency personnel undertook to gain control of the situation. James also shares his perspective now, over 20 years later. WATCH VIDEO

Lingering Impact

A 2018 article from mountsinai.org states that nearly 10,000 first responders, and others who were in the World Trade Center area, have been diagnosed with cancer and more than 2,000 deaths have been attributed to illnesses related to 9/11. The author of the article, Michael Crane, MD, MPH, and director of the World Trade Center Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence at The Mount Sinai Hospital, went on to note that the rate of some cancers among first responders is up to 30 percent higher than in the general population. In that article, Crane also predicted, “It will get worse. By the end of 2018, many expect that more people will have died from their toxic exposure from 9/11 than were killed on that terrible day.”

Why We Remember

September 11, 2001, is remembered as the most horrific day in America’s history. On this day, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives to a despicable act of evil by terrorist groups, undeserving of recognition. The victims of this attack were not soldiers, political figures, or high-profile personnel, but civilians, normal people who lived normal lives with hopes, dreams, and ambitions. 

And on this day, they were unfairly taken from this world. So today, we remember those we lost. Those who cannot walk amongst us but stay with us in memory not just today, but every day. We remember the bravery of the fallen emergency personnel who sacrificed themselves to save others. We remember the loved ones we lost. We remember everyone who should have been able to go back home.

Today we remember them.

Today we remember September 11th.

Because we can never forget.