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LARRY MENDTE COMMENTARY: 9/11 Anniversary

I want to introduce this Commentary with a personal story. My name is Bill Carey, I often write these intros to our Commentary, and I'm proud to say I helped lead the development of the RoseBud Channel with our fine team.

I've worked with Larry Mendte several times in my journalism career. Larry has contributed much to the communities we've lived in with his caring for what's right. We both believe in advocacy journalism. We go after the bad guys and try to help the least among us. It's very rewarding work when it works.

While working together in New York City, Larry was one of several key people in the media industry to do a series of stories championing what we now know as the 9/11 First Responders Bill. The bill is named in honor of James Zadroga, and is the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act to be precise. Zadroga was a NYPD officer who worked on the "pile" as Ground Zero was called, first on the rescue mission, then the recovery. James breathed in the toxic airs around the World Trade Center for those ensuing weeks, and his lung cancer was linked to that bad air, one of the first cases identified.

Larry interviewed James several times, kept in touch, and was granted one of James' final interviews. It was powerful advocacy. One of so many powerful stories to be told. None any more than the next, but the volume of them numbing, too much for the mind and heart to hold.

I'm a firm believer in putting stories in context and offering perspective, and so when RoseBud turns our attention to 9/11 and all its aftermath, it's because we care, and because we know.

I lost 30 friends and acquaintances that day. My brother and brother-in-law were FDNY firefighters, and fortunately, they were off that Tuesday morning. They both reported to their firehouses, and when they got to downtown Manhattan, the two towers had already collapsed. They were there the next seven days, sleeping occasionally on a park bench or a church pew along with so many other First Responders. As it became clear there would be nobody to rescue, they were ordered to go home to sleep. The personal stories are many, and each story is as important as the other, each grieving family as precious as the other. Using the power of the press in a proper way, in an advocacy way, Larry did his part, offering powerful Commentaries on New York City airwaves. Many victims and their families have been spared enormous financial burdens that come from cancer treatments as a result. And here we are -- 20 years later -- too many still coping with the horrific illnesses that day doled out.

So, as you watch this particular Commentary, I simply ask you to appreciate that there was a time and a place where Larry and I were personally involved in 9/11. Perhaps you were too. That authenticity gives credibility to any Commentary or opinion, be it this subject or any other. And we hope you agree.

We invite you to watch Larry's remembrances and his Commentary and let him know if you agree or disagree with him @mendte. Because for us at RoseBud, the question isn't so much "when" was America ever "great," but what are we all doing to make it great.

Thank you for watching RoseBud, and for subscribing to the Mail Tribune. And God bless America, especially the fallen, the survivors, and the families still suffering their pain and their loss to a day we'll never forget.